Mindfulness Meditation is a gentle discipline of focusing on your breathing with awareness. Focusing on the breath has been used for thousands of years to train the mind to be aware of what is in the present moment. It helps you to be present and to pay attention in a focused, curious, non-judgmental way. You learn that the most important time is now. You learn to let go of regrets about the past and worries about the future. You begin to understand that if you take care of the present, you take care of the future. If you take care of the present, you heal your regrets about the past. You begin to live more fully in the present.
Meditation helps you to be more mindful of what is going on in your body, in your feelings, in your mind, and in the world. As you learn to be more mindful, you become more accepting and gentle with yourself and with others. Your relationship with life changes from a wrestling match to a dance as you learn to accept the cycle of ups and downs, of suffering and joy. You learn not to look away from the joy that comes your way just because there is also suffering.
You begin to appreciate who you are without being caught in expectations of who you should be. Through awareness, you can transform habit energy from negative to positive, from anger to acceptance, from apathy, resignation, and despair to action. When anger and despair arise, you learn to face them directly. Learn to touch on your negative emotions deeply to obtain understanding and transformation.
When you are lost in your thinking, your anxieties, and worries, you don't realize that you have a safe harbor within yourself. You don't realize that you have an aspect that is always, strong, solid, and calm. When the sky is cloudy, you know that the sun is still there. The clouds don't destroy the sun; they just hide it from view. The sun is always shining even during the darkest days and nights.
In the same way, your habitual way of thinking and reacting has not destroyed your safe harbor; your strong, solid, and calm self. You just need to clear your mind by focusing on your breathing and by paying attention to what is happening in your body, your feelings, and your thoughts. When you accomplish this you will be able to find that quiet, soothing place within yourself.
When you are lost in thinking about the past or planning for the future your mind is in one place and your body is in another. Breathing mindfully is a bridge that can help bring the body and mind together. When you can do these things you will move through life with a greater sense of freedom and joy.
You will learn how to have opinions without being opinionated and how to be discerning without being judgmental. You learn that the most important person is the one you are with now, and the most important task is what has to be done now. That is not to say that your family and friends are not the most important people in your life, but you learn to focus completely on the person who is with you at the present moment, and to focus on the task at hand without becoming distracted by your thoughts of other people and other obligations.
You will also learn to forgive yourself when you fail to be present as often as you would like to be.
This wonderful way of being is accomplished through the simple practice of paying attention to your breathing. As your mindfulness expands, you can be present with and appreciate the simple and beautiful gifts that you possess, the sunshine, soft breezes, flowers, the smiles of children, and friends without being lost in your expectations of the future and your regrets about the past.
Mindfulness may be practiced formally in sitting and walking meditation, informally throughout the day, and in various circumstances . If you are present, paying attention with full awareness and without judgment then you are practicing mindfulness meditation.