How To Clear Your Mind With Simple Steps, Literally
I learned mindfulness meditation when I was 17. It was really out of curiosity than anything else. I really need something to keep my hyperactive mind occupied back then. But little did I know this ancient technique will still serve me well, almost two decades later. I’m not sure what mindfulness meditation means to you. If you think you it is mystic or it is a religious thing, I didn’t blame you for thinking so but let me assure you that it is neither.
Meditation has got its root deep in the ancient religion of Buddhism and Hinduism. But the simple mind relaxation exercise that I’ve shown in my previous post, has nothing to do with religion. Neither does the mindfulness meditation guide, which I distribute for FREE, has anything to do with religion.
Mindfulness Meditation Is Not About Religion Or Culture.
It is a method of training our mind to be aware of our senses and of the mind itself by following clear and proper instructions. That is what mindfulness is all about. It increases the signaling condition of your brain, or axonal density, according to this article in Huffington Post.
I’ll do with just dragging one scientifically backed benefit of meditation today. I’ll probably list another 10 or more in my next post.
Enough of my rants.
But what came to your mind when I mentioned meditation? I suspect that most of you would have imagined a yogi sitting in a cross-legged position, just like the picture below.
And these are the normal questions that people asked when they first meditate.
“Do I need to sit for 30 minutes to practice this mindfulness thing?”
“I don’t have half an hour to spare in my days”
“I am too old/young to sit still doing nothing”
Who Said Mindfulness Meditation Is All About Sitting?
Well, in fact, the first form of meditation that I learned is the walking form. Unlike the more popular form of sitting mindfulness meditation, the walking meditation has received less publicity.(I’m not sure why) But it is the easier form of mindfulness meditation to learn for beginners(at least that’s what I felt back then).
Why is it easier?
Simply because it is easier to get drowsy and fall asleep when you are sitting (Yes, I’ve had my moments of ‘sleepitation’). And also the fact that the walking movement is much easier to observe than the breathing part of sitting. It takes much more concentration to observe the finer sensations of the sitting mindfulness meditation.
It is also easier to apply the mindfulness method in walking meditation to your daily walking activities with minimum modification of the instruction. You can use almost everything that you do in your meditation session in your regular stroll down the park or when you are walking your way up to your office.
I actually did, about two hours ago, just to get the exact right words for what I felt immediately after a session of mindful walking.
So How Do I Walk Mindfully?
The keyword is “Walk” and “Mindful”. And here’s how to clear your mind with simple steps :
- Walk at a normal pace. Slow enough for you to be aware of your foot touching the ground.
- As each foot touches the ground, mentally note “Right Foot” or “Left Foot“.
- If you find yourself thinking something else, dinner or some unfinished work, gently bring your thoughts back to your walking again.
- Do this for 5 minutes.
- Congratulations, you have just successfully completed 5 minutes of mindful walking.
At the end of your 5 minutes walk, here are a few things I want you to note:
- Do you feel like a heavy cloud being lifted from your mind? (I asked this because I felt so)
- Does your mind feel more calm and focused? (with less stray thoughts).
- Does walking feel easier?
I know the third question sounds silly, but I just want you to feel if the footsteps feel lighter? As if you are filled with light and positive energy.
Does It Really Works
It works for everyone, but it could be difficult if you have never meditated before. And no, the above is not the proper meditation instruction. It’s just a simple mindful walking technique, derived from the walking meditation practice.
It depends on how well you understand the instruction. And how open your mind is to meditation. If you are doing the practice and having doubt at the same time, then it will be counter-productive, because you are not being mindful in your walking.
That being said, having practice mindfulness meditation myself, I still find it good to couple it with guided meditation audio such as Live In The Present Moment. It helps to get you into calmer meditative state, especially if you are a beginner. It does take time to develop our ability to bring reach calm meditative state instantly by ourselves.
Here’s A Challenge For You
If you drive or commute to work, then I guess you probably spend the morning thinking about the day’s agenda. This is what happened to most people, they spend most of your morning thinking and worrying about stuff and they become stressed up by the time they reached their workplace.
If you have the habit of doing so, I want you to use what I’ve shown you, not for the entire journey, but just for the few steps after your parked your car or gotten down from the transit to your office. Let me know if there’s any difference to how you start your day?
Do this again after you left work. Take a few mindful steps before you enter your house. Don’t take your work problems back to your home. Let me know if it works.
Have you tried mindfulness practice in your life? Do you think mindfulness is key in having a productive day? Share your thoughts at the comments below.