What is mindfulness?

Mindfulness is cool. It is simple, and very powerful. It helps us reduces stress and relax. It enables us have a rest from the constant criticism of our own minds. It creates space and gives us distance from our problems. It does not take them away, but it does show us how to face them with a smile, if not a laugh.

Mindfulness simply means a state of relaxed awareness, also known as meditation. It enables us have a rest from the constant criticism of our own minds. It creates space and gives us distance from our problems. It does not take them away, but it does show us how to face them with a smile, if not a laugh. It is simple, and very powerful. Moreover, it has plenty of exciting health benefits!

There has recently been a lot of research into mindfulness and its effect on our health, and more and more is going on. The results so far have been overwhelming. Here is what we know up till now.

Mindfulness is the ultimate stress-beating tool. It is excellent at reducing the effects of stress. We live in a time when we are bombarded with information and the speed of life has never been so high. Stress is responsible for many changes in the body and mind like an increased heart rate, blood pressure and blood sugar content; a suppressed immunity, fertility and digestion; changes in mood and motivation. A prolonged exposure to stress can lead to diseases like diabetes, heart disease, immune dysfunctions, allergies, eczema, asthma, fertility issues, digestion and eating disorders, obesity, cancer, anxiety, panic attacks, insomnia, memory and concentration problems, or depression. Mindfulness has been proved to slow down or stop stress-related issues, reduce chronic pain, and return balance to the body and mind.

Mindfulness gives you more energy. There is currently plenty of research looking into the effects of meditation on a cellular level. It has documented that cells show more activity during and after meditation. People frequently report to have more energy during and after meditation.

Mindfulness makes you younger. Not long ago we believed that the aging process cannot be reversed. However, meditation has been proved to support the regeneration of cells and slow down the process of aging. We now know that meditation can keep us young!

Mindfulness gives you more grey matter. In meditation, your grey matter grows new cells, thus enhancing your focus and memory, and strengthening your creativity and compassion.

Moreover, meditation shows you the way to yourself. Life doesn’t come with a booklet of instructions. We create our life ourselves. Sometimes we are clear on what to do, feel happy and life is good. And sometimes we may feel lost in our heads, our feelings, and our experiences. At times like those, meditation offers you guides to understand where you are, a clarity to see where you want to go, and maps to show you how to get there.

Just like white clouds, we are in this life for a short time. We come, we go, and in the meantime, we have a choice: we can either live our life fully or miss it. One day, we either say “Where did all those years go?” or “I have lived well.” Meditation means being here and now, being aware and available for love, laughter, tears, happiness, fun, and everything else life brings. Meditation means living life totally, without missing it.

Mindfulness (or meditation) is very simple: it means being relaxed and aware. However, when we hear the word meditation, all sorts of images and notions come up. So, let’s make things clear.

Meditation is not concentration. It is actually the opposite: it is relaxation. Concentration is a result of meditation. When the mind relaxes, we can concentrate better.

Meditation is not a religious practice. It goes beyond all religions. In fact, meditation can bring people of different religions and backgrounds together.

Meditation is not sitting in the lotus posture. It is important to be comfortable when you meditate. Your mind can only relax when your body is relaxed. You can sit, or lie down, and you can choose any position that feels good. You can rest on the floor, on a chair, a sofa, or a bed. Modern meditation often involves movement, too.

Meditation is not for old people. In fact, children are natural meditators. They are totally involved in whatever they are doing, right here, right now. Not planning what they’ll do next, not reminiscing about what they did before. They are totally relaxed and present for this moment. We lose the ability to be in the moment and meditate as we grow up, through upbringing and conditioning. Meditation helps us find the way back to a natural state of presence and relaxation. It brings aliveness back into our lives. Meditation is for everyone.

Meditation is not thought control. Thoughts cannot be controlled. They have a life of their own; they come and go on their own accord. Controlling thoughts takes a tremendous effort, and meditation is only possible in a state of relaxation. In meditation, we do not try to think good thoughts, or avoid bad ones. We simply notice all thoughts as they arise and disappear, but we don’t pay them any other attention. We stay present for whatever is here and now, and so move into a space of deep inner silence.

Meditation is not a way of running away from problems. Quite the opposite; meditation gives you the strength to face problems with a smile. Meditation helps us develop skills to handle all situations in a nice and constructive way. We learn to accept situations as they are and act on them from a space of consciousness. Challenges will arise, but we can still move forward with confidence.

Meditation doesn’t take a long of time. There are meditation techniques that take hours or minutes. There are special meditation techniques for busy people. Meditation relaxes you, and consequently, you work better, faster and more efficiently. Meditation is a great tool if you’re busy.

There is no need to give up material life. There is no need to change your lifestyle, or even your diet. There is no need to give up your comforts or luxuries. There is no need to go and meditate in a cave. Meditation works just as well on a feather sofa and after a lovely meal.

Meditation is fun. We are bored because we have become numb. Meditation makes you alive again. It awakens your senses and helps you see the beauty in simple things again.

My meditation is simple, it does not require any complex practice, it is laughing, dancing and sitting in silence. Osho