If you asked 100 people what their definition of mindfulness is you would probably get 100 different answers. Same for meditation. All of these people would be correct in their definitions. Just like love or spirituality, there is no correct answer. It is whatever feels right and good to you. My personal definition of mindfulness is simply ‘paying attention’ or ‘presence’. My definition for meditation is ‘stillness’. These are terms that work for me and feel right.
By now, most of us have heard that meditation and mindfulness are beneficial on many different levels from lowering blood pressure and reducing stress, anxiety and fatigue to being more creative, grounded and engaged in life. This is all true! Meditation and mindfulness can benefit us in a myriad of ways and in many areas of our lives. At Your Life Unleashed, we combine both aspects of these highly beneficial practices along with auditory bi-lateral stimulation and visualization that are the cornerstones of the YLU program. The combination of presence (mindfulness), being still (meditation), bi-lateral stimulation (auditory component) and visualization (screen images/language and imagination) is a powerful and empowering method to change limiting beliefs and programming. This dynamic interactive approach combines the best of several practices that are scientifically proven to get results and to help release ideas and habits that are no longer serving us.
I have heard many people say that they think they aren’t meditating “right” or being mindful “enough”. I used to feel this exact same way. I will tell you, there is no “right” or “enough” when it comes to utilizing these practices in your life. If you are able to be still for two minutes a day on the subway on your way to work, you are meditating. Congratulations! If you are able to do the dishes, and just do the dishes, while really paying attention to the scent of the soap, the feel of the sponge, each dish becoming clean, you are practicing mindfulness. Congratulations! I particularly like author and activist Micheal Pollan’s mantra in the kitchen, “When cutting an onion, just cut the onion.” There is no need to over think these concepts beyond what they really are. They are practices that used to calm, center and create. The three C’s!
Some people find that having a designated space and time of day to meditate helps them. This is great if you can swing it and if it works for you. Being still and present while reprogramming old worn out beliefs into new self-serving beliefs. What a gift of self-care! In my past, I had a meditation room and an altar set up and would try to meditate daily for 2
0 minutes on my meditation cushion before yoga asanas. Now that I am a mother of an infant, I take five minutes of stillness throughout the day, usually when my baby is sleeping. It all works and is all good. I know this because I feel good after. This is how you know something is good for you. Listen to these feelings as your internal compass and guide.
I try to practice mindfulness most often when I’m eating. This looks like really engaging all my senses with my meal. No outside distractions. Just me and the food before me. I take in all the smells, sights and tastes on my plate. I also like to practice mindfulness when talking with my husband or son. This can be especially hard to practice as there is always something that can distract us. But when I have a conversation with my husband I like to give him my full attention, eye contact and attentive listening. I’m not always perfect but I try my best.
How can you use mindfulness and meditation for alleviating anxiety, fear and/or limiting beliefs? First of all, each and every one of us experiences the aforementioned feeling states and limitations from time to time. They can be situational or chronic. Intense or fleeting. Regardless, the practices of mindfulness and meditation, along with the YLU program, will help.
Let me give you an example from my own life. When I experience a limiting belief and fear surrounding a lack of money, first I notice that my old programming is playing in my head again. This usually sounds something like “We need to be better about our finances. We need to save more. I don’t want to be like my mother! We need to stay inside and not do anything or go anywhere for weeks. Maybe eating bread and water by candlelight would be good for us for a while!”…it can get out of control quickly with my thoughts of lack and fear. At this point, I mentally say STOP to those fear based thoughts. Take in a deep breath and release the negativity (i.e. limiting beliefs). I get quiet (meditation) and pay attention to how my body feels. Where I am in that moment. I take in my environment. This act of mindfulness (presence) gives me the chance to reset and realize that everything in that moment really is ok. I am fine. I am not in dire straits or financial trouble. I am able to realize that my fear and limiting beliefs had kicked up again, triggered by some external event. This act of mindfulness helps me to get grounded and change my thinking into something more positive and affirming, such as “We are on track financially and are prosperous and abundant. I release this limiting belief. I acknowledge that it is coming from a place of fear and I choose to release it now.” (This is the language that works for me. I encourage you to find what language works and feels natural to you.) I also like to take this time for a gratitude practice. I will mentally list 10 things that I am grateful for. This again helps me to reset and counter my limiting beliefs. I believe that it also lets the Universe know that I am grateful for the good things in my life and am open to more good things!
Bringing stillness and presence throughout your day will help you to reduce feeling states of anxiety, fear and limiting beliefs. Like anything, these take practice but once they become part of your daily routine they will come easily and naturally to you. The YLU program is designed just for that purpose, with daily intention and practice you can make these a part of your daily routine until they are a natural and easy part of your mental programming. What is one step that you can take toward being more still and present in your life? I invite you to take that step today.