We have come to understand mindfulness meditation as making a point to bring our attention and awareness to the present moment.
After practicing a formal mindfulness meditation every morning for a week, I began to notice something strange and wonderful. I was becoming mindful without even trying. During my regular mindfulness sessions, I enjoy drawing my attention to the beauty of nature. This aspect of my meditation has allowed me to automatically focus my attention when I see anything beautiful during my everyday routine. It’s as if my mind takes me right back to the place that I go during the meditation, just for a few moments. I find myself gently paying attention every time I catch a tree swaying in the wind, or a renegade flower growing in a rocky parking lot.
I have learned to live in the present moment when it counts the most. Every time my 2-year-old son gives me a hug, I carefully tune in to the sensations; the warmth, the touch…I breathe him in. When I fall asleep next to my husband I listen to him breathe, I feel his loving energy.
These short, precious moments fill me with a gratitude that I have never experienced before. A gratitude for simple beauty and unconditional love. I realize that I don’t need a fancy house or car, or loads of money to be happy. All I need is to feast my eyes on a breathtaking sunrise, or to take a deep breath while I hold my son close.
I also find myself become more accepting of my own thoughts and emotions. The key to mindfulness is allowing what is, and not striving to become anything else. Even when negative or judgmental thoughts pass through my mind, I allow them and do not push them away. When I allow myself to be as I am, I find those thoughts intruding less often.
The journey of mindfulness does not end when we are done meditating. When practiced regularly, mindfulness seeps into our consciousness and becomes a part of our daily lives. It helps us to accept ourselves freely, and savor each precious moment.