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I'm not sure if I'm doing mindfulness meditation the right way

Posted: 2017-11-06 08:10pm
by SolarpunkFan
I've been trying my hand at mindfulness meditation for a while, but I'm having a bit of a problem.

Mindfulness meditation involves a focus on the breath but when I try to focus on it I imagine things like the inside of my nose or lungs when breathing. So I'm really wondering if I should allow imagery like that during mindfulness. If there's anyone here who has done mindfulness meditation before then I'd like their opinions.

Sorry if the post isn't very good, I'm having difficulty describing this problem.

Re: I'm not sure if I'm doing mindfulness meditation the right way

Posted: 2017-11-07 04:30pm
by Esquire
If you're stressed out about not doing your anti-stress activity properly... maybe it's not a good fit for you. Just saying.

Re: I'm not sure if I'm doing mindfulness meditation the right way

Posted: 2017-11-08 06:17pm
by Simon_Jester
With SolarpunkFan, that could be a tough condition to satisfy. ;)

Re: I'm not sure if I'm doing mindfulness meditation the right way

Posted: 2017-11-09 03:59pm
by Formless
Breathing is just one part of mindfulness meditation. Its something you normally do automatically, but your conscious mind can take control over. If you do make breathing a focus, what you should be doing is listening to your breathing. Don't imagine it, just do it naturally. You could also try listening to your own heart beat. I've found this quite useful because when agitated my heart rate goes up dramatically, which might be amplified by the medications I take. By doing this, I can slowly bring it back down. There are many ways to do mindfulness meditation, not just breathing stuff.

The real thing you should be doing in mindfulness meditation is paying attention to the moment and the environment (external first, then internal after you learn how to loosen your need to control what is happening internally). I'll share some advice I got from a Bhuddist monk who once spoke as a guest speaker in a philosophy class I had. Instead of trying to imagine anything (which would be daydreaming and not meditating), find an environment that has other stimuli in it. I know that sounds odd, but hear me out. This guy pointed out that his meditation practice allowed him to be just as aware of what was going on in the rooms adjacent to the classroom we were in, while the rest of us only noticed if we payed conscious attention to those sounds. This is something you can work on. Don't have something particularly attention grabbing like a TV, computer or a relaxation tape going. Just sit in a living room or somewhere where off in the distance you can hear, say, a road or the birds. The noises shouldn't be loud, just something you can faintly hear besides your own breath if you find that bodily noises activate your imagination about things you can never see. Then, if you find yourself turning inwards to internal imagery, simply see if you can hear the surrounding environment. Its a good idea in these cases to stare at something fairly featureless like a wall, since vision is the sense we rely on the most and which grabs our attention the easiest. If you find yourself daydreaming anyway, or falling asleep, don't stress it. Pretty much everyone will when they first start, and besides, daydreaming has its own benefits. But don't beat yourself up over "failing" to meditate. That takes you out of the state you are trying to achieve. Just acknowledge the laps and let go. Focus on your ears, and get back into the flow of it. This is called "non-attachment," and it means acknowledging that a momentary occurrence is just that-- momentary. You can get back into it, if not the first time you try then after several meditation sessions. By the way, there is a lot more to nonattachment as a state and it is often a long term goal of mindfulness meditation, but for a beginner this is the main thing you should know about it.

Re: I'm not sure if I'm doing mindfulness meditation the right way

Posted: 2017-11-11 01:50pm
by Ender