The exercises described below are best understood and used within the context of the 10 week course offered by the Towson University Counseling Center.
The practice is simple, but not necessarily easy. The instructions are to pay attention to the raw sensations related to the body naturally breathing in this moment. When our mind wanders, we simply notice where it went, and then gently and without judgment escort our attention back to the bare experience of the breath in this moment. And repeat the instructions. It is recommended for one to work their way up to 45 minutes per day. This provides enough time for one to have a full range of experiences (including restlessness, boredom, frustration, self-judgment, etc) and to practice noticing them as passing mind states and return to the breath. This simple practice over time begins to quiet our mind and transform our relationship to our emotions, thoughts, and body's sensations.
Self Care: Evoking Kindness Toward Oneself
you ever noticed that while sitting in class you find yourself in an
argument with your roommate about something that has been bothering you
about them. Your heart starts beating more rapidly, your muscles tense,
your breathing quickens, perhaps you’re even feeling angry, only to
realize that your roommate is not even in the room – the conversation
has taken place in your own mind. Afterwards, you can’t even recall the
main points from the lecture.
perhaps you failed to study as much as you would have liked for a test and
the rest of the day you find yourself ensnared in a self-condemning
dialogue. The test is over and you are stuck in an unproductive state
keeping you from dealing effectively with what is actually happening.
course it is important to take time to plan and reflect, but this works
much better when conducted through the clarity of conscious choice, and
not habitual, unproductive, discursive thinking.
Mindfulness is about cultivating full awareness of the present moment so that we can better manage stress and develop states of clarity and relaxed alertness. Some common misconceptions about mindfulness meditation is that it is about making your mind blank, feeling a specific way, or running away from problems. Mindfulness is about waking up to the fullness of your life and changing your relationship to your problems, your fears, your physical or emotional pain, so that these things don’t wind up controlling you and dictating the quality of your life. Mindfulness is not an idea, it’s a practice and a lifestyle cultivated by making a commitment to it over time.