About meditation and mindfulness

There are countless ways to meditate and no one way is more right than another. The various meditation traditions can be found in the world religions and philosophies, for example as prayer, mantras and chants. But also as concentration, where the meditator focuses the attention on an object of some kind. 

To meditate is to rest and everyone needs that. Rest for a while from the external and everything we experience. In the rest we discover that there are additional dimensions to our self, a greater consciousness that is untouched by all the drama we are involved with. This discovery and the ability to step into one's calm, larger self is the key to a greater degree of inner peace. Many meditate to have a more pleasant life. To not get so stressed or worried, or angry. Or sad. Life is what it is, filled with joys and sorrows. With mindfulness meditation, we can be more stable through all these highs and lows.

Mindfulness meditation, which I practice and teach, is a Buddhist meditation. In Swedish it is called "conscious presence", but the English term has become common and is often what most people recognize. So I often use that word. It is still a very central part of Buddhism, but the modern mindfulness tradition is independent of Buddhism in such a way that we who practice it do not have to be Buddhists or follow Buddhist customs and practices. However, it cannot be disconnected from Buddhism, the roots are there and it is because of the generosity of Buddhist monks in sharing these teachings that we in the West can practice mindfulness now.

This kind of meditation is all about practicing being present in the moment. To observe what is and what happens without judging in one way or the other. When you meditate in this way, your ability to concentrate is strengthened, and it becomes easier to sit in meditation after a while. You also gain insight into your own thought and emotional patterns and do not have to be dragged along by them in the same way. 

Most often, the breath is used as the focal point in mindfulness meditation. You simply concentrate on your breathing and the experience of it, and when your thoughts drift away (which always happens, even the most experienced meditator experiences it), you gently and kindly bring your focus back to your breathing again.

You can sit for a short time or a long time. A few minutes a day makes a big difference. You don't need equipment or special clothes, somewhere to sit down is enough. A chair for example. You can close your eyes or keep your eyes slightly half-closed. 

It's not about removing your personality or making life dull. Or sit in lotus position and turn away from life. It is about increasing one's capacity to live fully. To be there for oneself and for other living beings. Conscious presence is presence of life.

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