Mindfulness meditation is a mind control technique that lets you discover what is going on in your mind, of becoming aware of your inner thoughts. The aim is Peace of Mind. People who benefit from mindfulness tend to be those who feel that the world is just too fast, whose minds are filled with racing thoughts and who worry about the future or dwell on the past but never seem to be in the moment, who have no peace of mind. Mindfulness meditation is used in the treatment of depression by letting the person become aware of automatic thoughts and how they arise. Mindful Awareness of the triggers for thoughts helps to stop rumination, the habit of going over past negative situations. Mindfulness exercises based on Vipassana are used in cognitive behavioral therapy.
The idea underlying Mindfulness therapy is that in order to fix a problem, you first have to become mindful of the problem. This idea is central to a lot of New Age thought, but is also verified by clinical psychology. Mindfulness therapy is about catching your own subconscious thoughts while you are thinking them. Many people are so busy worrying, stressing out or criticizing themselves that they never have time to think about what they are thinking. People often catch themselves reacting blindly in situations, they feel as if they get taken over by some kind of automatic pilot, as if they are watching their lives being run by somebody else, that they are not in control of what happens after somebody says or does something.
Often what they are reacting to is an intrusive memory of past abuses or past mistakes or an overwhelming fear of what will happen if they are unable to cope. When that happens, people are not reacting to things as they actually are, but reacting to a memory of similar things in the past that went wrong. In order to deal with this fear they automatically and blindly launch into old routines and behaviors, even though those behaviors are not appropriate any more. They are being forced to perform the whole routine from beginning to end. This is because their own subconscious mind has taken over in order to 'protect' them from what it thinks is an immediate danger. At the end of the performance the person finds everyone looking at them, or they find themselves emotionally distraught and the new feelings of shock or shame only reinforces the original fear and makes it worse next time.
Mindfulness is a way of taking back control of what is going in your life. Mindfulness leads to peace of mind. The basic vipassana technique is simply to become aware of what is happening in your body and in your mind from moment to moment, simply to observe, to allow what is happening to happen, without making any value judgments about whether it is good or bad. The goal is to observe, not to try to influence or alter anything. Vipassana is an attitude to life as much as is it is technique of meditation. It is very similar to the technique of Fascination, a focused, almost obsessive curiosity about what is happening in your mind, and where your thoughts come from.
Mindfulness meditation aims to allow you to create a compassionate relationship with yourself, by eliminating self criticism and recognizing persist negative thoughts. By allowing yourself to become a passive observer of your own inner events, you can become aware of automatic responses in behavior or thinking.
Mindfulness meditation is usually first taught by a meditation leader in a group setting. The guide coaches the learner through a series of physical exercises built around various activities involving sitting, walking or stretching, often including progressive relaxation. The reason for the physical part of this meditation technique is to give the person something to focus on, so that they can deliberately and consciously become aware of their posture or breathing or balance; to dwell on something that will distract an over stimulated mind.
Once you have learned mindfulness meditation you can apply the technique during everyday activities to neutralize stressful situations as they arise.
Find a comfortable place to sit. It can be on a chair or on the floor, but do not slump or slouch. Keep your posture straight but relaxed, making sure you are not rigid or stiff.
Focus on your breathing.
Concentrate your attention completely on your breathing... become aware of the sensations inside your air passages as the air enters the nose... Just become aware of that feeling as your breath goes in and out... Do not attempt to influence or check your breathing... just let it happen naturally... marvel at the quality and precision of internal sensations that are normally ignored ... wonder at how deeply you can sense the air inside you...Just allow yourself time to be aware of the air going in and out ... nothing else... Keep your mind on your breathing ... become your breathing.
Thoughts come into your mind
...that's OK...just examine the thoughts for what they are...as if they were some strange animal that wandered into your sight...when these thoughts come into your mind just allow them to wander off on their own ... think of them as eager puppies that stray here and there without purpose...and wish them good luck on their way...do not get involved in the thought...just recognize that it is there and return your focus to your breathing.
Treat each thought as a guest.
When a thought or feeling arises, simply observe and acknowledge it. There is no need to interpret it or to use it. You can wonder where it came from, what caused it to surface now, what purpose it serves. Examine it like a precious jewel, turning it this way and that. If you feel yourself drifting away on a thought then just return and refocus on your breathing. Use your breathing as the anchor for your mindfulness.
Stay in the moment
as long as you can... Continue to focus on your breathing...aim to clear your mind completely for five minutes...with practice you will be able to extend the time... twenty minutes or more...
Deal with repeating thoughts.
As you progress you will come to recognize that the same thoughts are appearing, over and over, even in your calmest moments ... these are the ones that are causing the problems... examine each thought and determine where it came from, what the incident was, why it is still unresolved. Then, later on, outside the mindfulness session, think about the origin of the thought.
Considering the thought rationally, at a time that suits you, not at the time the thought takes over, will allow you to deal with whatever the underlying issue is without the associated emotion getting in the way. And having dealt with it, it should never reappear.
There are several other highly effective mindfulness techniques for engaging your subconscious mind. These are described in detail in these sections