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Monday, 04 December 2006

   

 

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Mindfulness Meditation and Concentration Meditation

Mindfulness meditation is also known as insight because the intention is to gain insight as to the true nature of reality.  While concentration involves the practitioner focusing their attention on a single object, in mindfulness meditation practice, every aspect of experience is welcomed and appreciated.

 

With concentration practice, we give the attention a target that keeps us anchored in the present moment.  The target can be a physical object, or more commonly, the breath.  We give the mind something consistent to focus on and this becomes the object of the meditation

 

Whatever is used as the object for the attention, the aim is to keep the mind focused as often as you remember to do so.  As the mind starts to wander, we simply direct the mind back toward the object of attention with a sense of “friendliness.”

 

What do I mean by friendliness?  Whenever we become lost in thought or confusion, we simply acknowledge those thoughts and then gently re-focus the attention.  If we consciously try to prevent thinking, it’s going to have a negative impact on our practice.  Instead, the moment we recognize we have become distracted, we gently bring our attention back.

 

We do this as many times as distraction or thought occurs, without chastising ourselves for having failed or getting emotional about it.  There is no failure.  We simply bring our attention back the moment we acknowledge we have become distracted.

 

Eventually, the mind will become calmer and discursive thought will begin to slow.  As you notice your mind becoming calmer, avoid the temptation to think about your experience.  Rather, keep a “friendly” attention on the focus of your practice.

 

Mindfulness meditation differs from concentration in one important way.  Where concentration involves the practitioner focusing their attention on a single object, in mindfulness meditation practice, every aspect of experience is welcomed and appreciated.

 

With mindfulness meditation, we take on the role of an impartial observer of everything that passes before our attention.  Our intention is not to be focused, but rather to be mindful, that is, to be fully aware and awake of what is going on in the present moment.  Often the breath is still used as an anchor to the present moment in mindfulness meditation, but apart from that, no attempt is made to direct the attention.

 

Whatever thoughts, so called distractions, sounds, images, ideas, or feelings arise, nothing is excluded.  Everything is welcomed.  We simply pay attention to whatever is there.  We do not judge or evaluate.  Whatever happens, whatever occurs is okay – we just sit quietly and observe.

 

Mindfulness meditation can be applied to all experiences in life.  Whatever is happening, we should not try to hold the experience outside ourselves.  Mindfulness is about embracing reality and the present moment, whether we are working, running or enjoying a meal.

 

 FREE MEDITATION E-COURSE

Matt Clarkson has created a no cost e-course teaching simple meditation exercises for busy people. Each "Daily Meditation" is an exercise, inspirational message or tip to help you calm the mind and reduce stress. If your health is important to you, go here now:
==> www.SecretsofMeditation.com

 

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