Inviting mindfulness into your life is a transformative experience. You regain control of tough to manage emotions like anger, despair, and frustration. It's like you come to this realization that your mind is a vast and open field in which anything is possible, and don't mistake that for sweet talking on the topic of mindfulness. There's plenty of research to back those claims up, which show that mindfulness does improve cognitive abilities, improves memory, and reduces anxiety and unmanaged mood swings. It's tough to realize that even in first world countries such as the United States, mindfulness isn't being taught to children at schools. Then again, they never teach you about money at school either, so it is up to us as individuals to spread the awareness of mindfulness, and meditation in general.
My personal practice of meditation and mindfulness goes back to 2012 -- having found myself in a very unhealthy environment psychologically, I picked up meditation as a means to deal with my addictions, and repetitive emotional behaviors. Four years later, I feel much more alive, inspired, and confident to move forward with my goals and aspirations. Without a doubt, there are people out there who possess these traits naturally, but those who don't can easily teach themselves a practical mindfulness technique that helps you find the necessary balance in life.
Apart from mindfulness you can also experiment with meditations on loving kindness, cultivation of deep concentration, and simple relaxing techniques that are easy to get started with. In that sense, mindfulness is wonderful because it incorporates an aspect of our life that we're already so familiar with: breathing.
Although the implication of focus on your breath sounds easy enough when spoken, putting it in practice is far more challenging, which is attributed to the fact that our minds are constantly robbing us of our present moment attention to produce thoughts and reactions, which much of the time you don't even want to deal with. And you don't have to. It's possible to clear your mind from all that clutter that has piled up there. That's what meditation, and mindfulness, is all about.
As so many years have passed since I started my meditation practice, I wanted to share with you my experience of mindfulness in the form of benefits that I experienced personally. They're very similar to what you'd find in a scientific paper, but perhaps with a more personal touch added to them.
1. Natural clarity
My favorite perk of meditation is that you can experience a rather serene, deep and rejuvenating clarity over your own mind. Since meditation is all about calming yourself down, your nervous system and your mind, it's possible with a continuous practice to achieve a state of mind where you can be fully present and aware of the thoughts that come into your mind. So instead of having the mind race from one corner to the other, you can watch the thought arising with your full attention, and actually choose as to whether you wish to engage in it, or let go of it; although there is another aspect of this experience that I've learned to enjoy.
2. Emotional freedom
Before picking up meditation as a daily practice, I was an emotional wreck. Unfortunately, I used to immerse in life experiences that were detrimental to my well-being, on emotional and psychological levels, and truth to be told -- I'm not sure I would have had the courage to deal with those issues naturally -- without medication -- if it wasn't for meditation, since it kept me centered and allowed me to observe my own emotional states of being. Meditation, and in particular mindfulness, has helped me to experience my emotions in a completely new way. Instead of judging myself, or judging others, I can observe the emotions and the thoughts associated with them, and simply set them free if they're unhealthy, destructive or malicious.
3. Creative upliftment
I wasn't much of a book reader, and far less of a poetry writer, but for one reason or the other, since establishing my meditation practice I've found myself enjoying books more, enjoying writing and creative sharing of poetry. Meditation has helped me to reconnect with parts of me that were previously hidden under layers of self-doubt, fear and ignorance. Expressing myself in unique ways in social situations has also become easier, and mindfulness led me towards an anxiety free way of living. It might sound far-fetched, but these past four years of my life have really changed my whole view of a life based on conscious living, and breathing.
And with that new way of seeing things, a lot more happiness has found its way in my life. Whether the atmosphere at work, or romantic relationships; comparing my level of happiness then and now shows a huge difference. And it has been like this for some time now. Perhaps it has much to do with using conscious breathing as means to calm down your nervous system, or perhaps there aren't that many free roaming thoughts in my mind anymore, but authentic happiness is possible to reach if you persist with a regular practice of mindfulness. If it was possible to happen to me, there's no reason it couldn't happen to you.
Starting slow is the key, few minutes at a time is all that is required to experience some level of benefit, a level of tranquility that arises when your focus shifts from thoughts to the breath, and when your mind becomes like an ocean where each raindrop is being accounted for. I would love to hear stories from you about the way meditation has helped to reshape your perspective on life.