My higher-self urged me to write this article about mindfulness meditation in response to the heavy demands put upon us by modern day living. It's clear to me that most people have difficulty maintaining a daily twenty to thirty minute 'traditional' mediation practice (where the objective might be to explore the inner-self). Our busy schedules leave us with very little time for this kind of self-care.
Mindfulness is a type of meditative practice that takes you out of the world for a brief period of time without the need for engaging in formal meditation. Our busy lives necessitate that we 'drop out' from time to time in order to process the constant flow of information we are constantly being bombarded with.
While I do not believe mindfulness is a substitute for traditional meditation, it is certainly a worthwhile practice, and has benefits of its own. Mindless meditation is well-suited for people with busy lives, who cannot commit to a regular meditation routine.
Mindfulness meditation can be done while performing mundane tasks. I'm taking about the times when we 'zone out' doing tasks that do not require analytical thinking. These include chores where your brain goes on 'automatic', such as cleaning or organizing. This can also happen if you have a job that requires very little intellectual processing, such as an assembly line job.
Any kind of meditation is basically a hypnotic or trance state. Meditation and hypnosis is associated with the slower alpha and theta brain wave cycles. It's very common for people to enter an alpha state during an ordinary day. The human mind goes in and out of hypnotic states several times a day. Most of the time people are completely unaware that they have entered a mild trance state.
During these brief trance states, you might experience what professional hypnotherapists call 'time distortion'. This is when you lose track of time. An hour can seem like a minute while in a hypnotic trance state.
Let's explore mindfulness. Mindfulness is the act of being in the now. Mindfulness engages your full senses on whatever you are doing in the present moment. If you become distracted by something other than what you are doing in the moment, you should bring your thoughts back to the activity you are engaged in.
Stop what you are doing right now (for a minute). Forget about what is going on around you. The world won't stop turning for a short moment. Just be with yourself. If it is appropriate, wherever you are, or whatever you are doing in this moment . . . just be.
Put yourself into whatever you are doing. Pay close attention to what you are doing. Engage your full senses in the activity (by using sight, sound, smell, touch, and possibly taste). Allow yourself to become fully immersed in the experience. As you do this, your thoughts will settle on the task at hand. Everything around you will start to lose meaning, as you focus on what is in front of you.
When you decide to end your mindfulness experience, you will most likely feel a sense of contentment and peacefulness. This is one way to experience meditation. It's also an excellent way to meditate when you can't find the time.