Origin & Meaning:
Mindfulness meditation is a fresh take on traditional Buddhist meditation practices, especially Vipassana, also it has strong influences from other zen practices (such as the Vietnamese Zen Buddhism from Thich Nhat Hanh). This type of meditation has strong western roots.
How To Do It:
Mindfulness meditation is the art of intentionally focusing on the present moment, while accepting in a passive manner various sensations, thoughts and emotions that may raise.
The practice of this meditation involves sitting either on a cushion or a chair (without back support) and paying close attention to ones breath. Be aware of every small movement that your body makes. You do this for the entire length of the session or you can focus you object on particular sensations, thoughts or feelings. The gist of this practice is to stay as close as possible to the “moment”, without compromising ourselves with secondary objects.
Distractions by secondary objects do happen so its best to take a second and readjust your awareness of the primary object, whether that would be your breath, emotions or thoughts. There is a big difference between being inside thoughts and sensations and simply being aware of its presence. You can also practice mindfulness throughout the day. While walking, eating and talking pay attention to every aspect of these actions, stay within the present moment. The trick is to be aware, rather than going through the motions of life in “auto-pilot”. If you are speaking, this means paying special attention to the words you output, the tone of you speak in and your ability to listen with presence and attention. Daily practice like this and mindful meditation are essential for understanding this skill.
Is It For Me? :
The general census on this type of meditation is that it is very western friendly. It has roots to associated to ancient buddhist meditation techniques and is often practiced in hospitals and schools. The practitioner of this method receives the mental and physical benefits that you would get from tradition buddhist meditation, but without the eastern concepts and philosophies attached to them. This makes it an ideal choice for beginners that want to learn more about meditation and for people who are looking for mental and physical improvement of self. Those seeking to gain spiritual knowledge should practices other Buddhist meditations such as Vipassana.