Mindfulness

What is mindfulness meditation?

“Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way; on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally.” ~ Jon Kabat-Zinn

 

Mindfulness meditation is the practice of realizing when we are not in the present moment, and coming back to our inner-selves and what is happening in our environment.  Often, we choose to put our awareness on our thinking.  Our minds think non-stop, and there is a ceaseless commentary going on about everything we experience.  Because of this, we are often missing the very moments of our lives.  Mindfulness meditation is about what we notice when we purposefully choose to put our attention on other aspects of our being, such as body sensations and sensory experiences.  We also notice our thinking, but there is a broader field of attention, and we are not consumed by thoughts – they merely arise and disappear, just like the sensations in our body and sensory input.  When we understand that we can observe our minds, we then know that  we are not our minds– we are not what we think.  This realization is a major step towards healing any suffering that we are struggling with.  Mindfulness also helps us cultivate compassion for ourselves, and increases our ability to be compassionate with others.

 

Previous Image
Next Image

Why Do Mindfulness Meditation?

There is an ever increasing body of research that shows that practicing mindfulness meditation:

  • Reduces anxiety
  • Reduces stress
  • Helps create a sense of well-being
  • Reduces physical pain
  • Improves health
  • Reduces conflict in relationships
  • Helps treat addictions

If you are living with chronic pain, this video, Healing the Mind,  is a must:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PEJGPuPFIvc[/youtube]

For additional reading, please click on the following links:

Science Explores Meditation’s Effect on the Brain

Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction

Women’s Center for Mind-Body Health

Mindfulness Meditation Being Used in Hospitals and Schools

Meditation for Addiction

Back to the Present

Kinds of Mindfulness Meditation:

Sitting Meditation

During sitting meditation, we usually choose the breath as the object of meditation to give us an anchor- something to return to when we realize we are lost in thought.  Our attention is also placed on what is happening in our sense perceptions- sight, sound, smell, touch, and taste.  When we notice our attention is not with our breath but with our thinking (and this will happen over and over) we gently acknowledge that we have been thinking and return our attention to our breathing.

Walking Meditation

During walking meditation, we put our attention on our feet, noticing their contact with the Earth or floor, their movement, and any sensation we feel.  When we notice that our attention is not on our feet but in our thinking, we gently acknowledge that and return our attention to our feet.

Meditation in Action

It is possible to make any activity a mindfulness meditation by making the activity the object of meditation.  Examples of activities are:

  • Driving
  • Washing the dishes or other household chores
  • Eating
  • Gardening
  • Playing with the dog
  • Brushing your teeth
  • Being with horses

By choosing to put our awareness on doing an activity, rather than our thoughts about the activity (“I like/dislike ____________”), we open ourselves up to a new experience.

A guided meditation by Jon Kabat-Zinn:

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o5ssKPoKQzY[/youtube]

 

The Body Scan

Body Scan for MindfulnessA body scan is mindfulness meditation practice that brings one’s attention to the sensations in the body.  We systematically bring our attention to every part of our body from the top of our head to our toes, and notice what we feel.  When our minds wander, we gently return to the body.  This practice can be particularly helpful for people who have difficulty falling asleep and/or experience intense anxiety.  I have guided body scans available for download.

Mindfulness Sessions

Are you interested in practicing mindfulness with your family, friends, partner, or co-workers?  This practice will improve your:

  • self-awareness
  • communication skills
  • listening skills
  • compassion for others
  • ability to contribute to a team or partnership

I can customize a mindfulness session to meet your individual needs and intentions.  We can practice in a variety of ways, including:

  • Being with horses
  • Walking along the 40 acre property and visiting chickens, goats, bunnies, flowers, butterflies, birds, and other magnificent creatures
  • Sitting inside or outside
  • Mindful activities
  • Body scan (and any combination of the above)

To get a sense of the property where the sessions will be offered, please see the Horses page.