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Mindfulness in 30 Seconds Or Less!
Okay, that's exaggerating, but quieting the mind is a worthwhile endeavor

The mind is a terrible thing to waste, but all of us waste it constantly, every day. How? By thinking!

"Um, hello?" many of you are no doubt saying. "Isn't that what the mind is for?"

(Article continued below.)

Actually, no, it's not. The mind functions at its best when it's completely uncluttered by thoughts and intuition is allowed to come through. If you reflect on it, you'll probably realize that the most inspired moments of your life didn't come from any sort of thinking process - an idea just shot through your mind and came out whole. It didn't even feel like it came from you - it's more like you were the channel through which it arrived. Your favorite musical piece? That's probably how it was written. The same thing with that classic book you read. And let's not even get into the origins of the Yoga Sutras...!

The best form of thinking is non-thinking. The mind at its optimum is no mind. That doesn't mean wandering zombie-like throughout life - when your mind is still and empty of thoughts you are functioning with a rare form of clarity. You are not passing judgments or commenting on whatever is around you. You are seeing life as it really is. The choices you make will be the correct ones and you will move with a true self-assurance that has no basis in ego. Even if you are surrounded by upheaval and agitation, you will be calm and focused. This is what mindfulness is all about.

Those who practice Yoga on a regular basis know something about mindfulness. There are times when moving into an Asana or flowing through a Vinyasa feels effortless and pure. Your breath and body are in perfect synchronization and you don't have to think about what you're doing - you're just doing it. And there those moments in Shavasana where you feel alert but utterly relaxed at the same time - your thoughts have temporarily vanished and you can almost feel the molecules of your skin vibrating and blending into the air around you. If you have experienced any of this, you have an idea of what mindfulness is.

If your Yoga practice has drawn you into meditation (or vice versa), then you most likely have had some additional experience with mindfulness. Not all forms of meditation, however, involve emptying the mind. Some techniques, usually those in which you are trying to achieve a goal such as becoming more self-confident or quitting smoking, involve visualization techniques. They're useful to know but they're more akin to self-hypnosis than they are to real meditation. The most basic meditation technique is pretty similar to Yoga's Eightfold Path - you start off with Asana, or a comfortable sitting posture, use a breathing technique (Pranayama), detach from your thoughts (Pratyahara), focus your concentration (Dharana)...and then you can meditate (Dhyana). Practice these steps diligently over a period of time and you might achieve enlightenment (Samadhi). The process is simple but in no way easy, and it certainly takes longer than 30 seconds to accomplish! But don't worry - there are a few quick suggestions that will help develop mindfulness.

Next page >> Mindfulness Now! >> Page 1, 2

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