|Diane is practicing mindfulness.|
Because I am a yoga devotee, I discovered a DVD by Yoga Zone with Alan Finger. He guides you through two methods of meditation. The first session uses alternative nostril breathing which seems strange at first, but it works. Finger also incorporates the Kriya breath to help with preparing for internal reflection. I always feel transported after completing this part of the DVD.
In the second segment of the DVD, Finger has you focus on the various chakras with colored shapes. I like his use of imagery which assists in reaching contemplative mindfulness and calmness. For me, guided imagery is best for my meditation practice. Both sessions on the DVD last about twenty minutes (yoga poses before meditation add an additional ten minutes) which is ample time for meditation during a busy day.
Some of you may be scratching your head at my use of "mindfulness." The word refers to a type of metacognition. Metacognition is the psychological study of an individual's awareness of what he or she is thinking at the present moment. It is hard for me to stay connected in my thoughts with the present moment. I am usually thinking about plans in the future or events that have already occurred. The act of mindfulness teaches me to be conscious of the here and now. The purpose behind mindfulness is to let go of stressful situations that may have just happened (like my final exams) and concentrate on experiencing the present moment (this beautiful Spring weather).
That is why I love yoga. My yoga practice gently brings me to awareness of my breathing and sensations that are occurring in my body. It relieves my accumulated tension. Yoga does this by prompting me to to be mindful, observe my thoughts and let them go while I am practicing my poses. I am remarkably relaxed after practicing yoga.
Meditation has the same application. It helps me to let go of worry about my daily activities and to zero in on my breathing. I found an excellent iPhone app and podcasts to assist in my mediation practice. Meditation Oasis has a selection of podcasts for guided meditation by Mary Maddux. If you download the iPhone application, it has a larger selection of guided mediations with Maddux. I especially like her meditations on "opening the heart" and "the inner child."
For those of you who know me, I am a spiritual person. I wanted to incorporate a more mystical aspect to my meditation. I came across a guided meditation by Dr. Raymond Lloyd Richmond. His guided imagery relaxation meditation centers on the Catholic faith and is extremely praiseworthy. I realize that meditation is very personal and not everyone will agree with me that his recordings are beneficial. However, after a month of listening to Richmond, my faith in Christ has strengthened and I feel an intense peacefulness throughout my daily activities.
Yes, my finals are over and I feel wonderful. I believe the difference has been due to practicing mindfulness. I think our society needs to unplug on a regular basis. Meditation is a great way to disconnect from humankind and find a path to inner peace. Now, when I am in the car, I don't always turn on the radio. I enjoy the quiet more. I enjoy being mindful now.