Does mindfulness meditation really work? Speaking from my own experience, YES! Meditation has personally saved my life, helping to restore my brain to a functional level after years of substance abuse. A lot of people were skeptical of meditation, claiming it was just hocus pocus. Meditation is now backed by scientific research that proves it actually changes the physical structure of the brain. Science proves that mindfulness meditation will help you live a happier, healthier, more fulfilled life than ever before.
Meditation is no longer just spiritual mumbo jumbo. Author of ‘Thoughts Without a Thinker’ William James gave a lecture at Harvard years ago. William noticed there was a Buddhist Monk sitting in the audience. He soon asked the monk to come give the lecture on psychology he was about to start. Then he added the monk was far more prepared to speak about psychology then he was because mindfulness meditation would be the psychology everyone would be studying in the future.
Mindfulness meditation is simple: it helps to balance out the left and right hemispheres of the brain. The brain has two sides to it, the logical and the creative sides. Through the use of meditation, you create more balance between the two sides of the brain. The left side of the brain will often times overpower the right side of the brain, the right side of the brain is more focused on the raw data you’re taking in each moment. The problem with the right side taking over, is it also uses past experiences and beliefs to manipulate reality. The problem with that for most people is, they’ve got a lot of garbage from the past and belief systems that aren’t very useful to them.
Through the use of meditation, you can declutter your beliefs while pulling yourself into the present moment where all your power lies. I study hypnosis and NLP as well as meditate daily. I tell my friends and clients a certain metaphor to explain how the right side works when it’s conditioned. Here’s the metaphor, “Let’s say you have a $5,000 camera. But the camera has dirt all over the lens, no matter how many pictures you take with that great camera, the pictures will always be dirty. Through the use of meditation, you can clean up the lens of your life’s camera. Then you see the truth about yourself and the world. It’s a much better picture to say the least.”
There’s a couple of sayings in NLP I can think of (NLP stands for Neuro Linguistic Programming). One is, “The map is not the territory.” The other saying is, “The meal is not the menu.” Both of these explain things easily, the meal and the map are just representations of what is to come. Just like your model of the world is just a representation, often times clouded by old wounds, belief systems that aren’t useful and past conditioning. Through activities like guided mindfulness meditation with music, you can deprogram your mind to look live life with more clarity.
So Who Does Mindfulness Meditation?
A lot of people do. Celebrities, scientists, entrepreneurs, athletes, yogis, moms and dads. The act of meditation is ideal for anyone. Another bonus of meditation is it can help to release negative, toxic emotions. From a neurological perspective, mindfulness meditation is simply attention training. Basically, learning how to focus your attention into the present moment where all your power is.
When and Where Do I Practice Mindfulness Meditation?
Anywhere is good. A peaceful setting in nature is ideal, but not necessary. When you first begin, you want to be clear from distractions. Start by sitting either with your legs grossed and your hands folded on your lap, or in a chair with your back straight and your feet flat on the ground. Sitting straight will also put you in the optimal position for deep breathing.
Next, start breathing in through your nose then out through your mouth. Focus on either the diaphragm or the air as it enters your nose and exits your mouth. Whenever your mind starts to wonder, return to focusing on your breathing. Try to imagine your thoughts coming then falling away peacefully. If you have a hard time concentrating, it’s ok. Meditation is skill set like anything else.Start with 5 minute sessions then move on to lengthier sessions. A tip from the Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle: Imagine as though you are a cat sitting at a mouse hole. Each thought you receive is a mouse coming through the hole. As the “mouse” comes through the hole, imagine swatting it down. The visualization is great for anyone new to the art of meditation.
Final Thoughts on Mindfulness Meditation
The best step I can tell you is relax, focus on your breathing, and let go of everything.