Here’s a little information about mindfulness meditation to make it more accessible. Meditation and that wandering monkey mind! Well, minds think, that’s what they do. Rather than emptying the mind of thought altogether, meditation provides us with an opportunity to ‘steer the mind’ using concentration practice. Mindfulness is the ability to know or name what we are noticing or experiencing. Concentration practice is the ability to hold our focus where we choose.
Here is a mindfulness meditation practice to explore. While our attention may come and go, our body and breath are always with us. When we notice our mind has wandered, we can use the opportunity to steer the mind, to concentrate instead where we prefer or intend. Steer your mind to notice the next out breath when it occurs. And then the next one in the ongoing in-and-out cycle of breathing. And then the one after that too. To help you with your concentration practice you might observe a physical sensation that helps you know, ‘oh, this is an out breath.’ Perhaps the downward settling of your chest or belly or maybe the air moving through your nostrils. Keep noticing that next out breath as it occurs. Gently, allow yourself to notice how your body is breathing just as it breathes, there is no need to make your body breathe in any particular way. Perhaps you are taking small sips of air or maybe your breath is moving in your chest or possibly down in your belly.
The point of meditation is not necessarily to empty the mind of all thought, rather to steer the mind to where we intend and bring it back to our chosen point of focus. With this concept in mind we can be gentler with ourselves each time we steer the mind back toward the focus of our concentration practice.