Our mind has a tendency to brood over the past and slip into the future. This is the reason people are sad and worried most of the time. It brings up a chain of negative thoughts to our mind and when we emotionally react to these thoughts; our body feels drained and fatigued.
We seldom enjoy life as we either stay in the past or future; hardly ever in the present moment. The best way to be in the present is to put your awareness in your breath. As one always breathes in the present, never in the past or the future; this awareness will help you remain in the present moment.
Practicing Awareness By Buddhist Meditation
There is a well-known Buddhist Meditation called Annapaan,where you just observe your normal breathing process. Sit in any relaxed position with your body and spine erect. Take a few deep breaths to move your diaphragm, which will relax your body. Close your eyes and focus on your breath. To do this, first bring your awareness on the inside of your nostrils, and feel a touch of cool air while inhaling. Then focus your awareness on the upper lip and feel a warm air touching it. Try to concentrate completely on inhalation and exhalation. When your mind is completely focused on observing the beginning and the end of inhalation and exhalation, it will lose connection with the past or future. You will not get other thoughts because the mind can only do one thing at a time. So, if your mind is busy observing the breath, other thoughts just disappear.
The objective of all meditations is to bring down the number of thoughts. If there are no thoughts, there will be no judgment and reactions. Your mind will be calm and still. Sometimes, while focusing on the breath, your mind may drift, and thoughts may appear. Don't worry, just acknowledge these thoughts, and bring your mind back to the breathing. With practice, the thoughts will soon lessen and the mind will experience a calm and quiet state of mind.
Initially, many people find it hard to focus on the breath continuously because of a wandering mind. A simple way is to count the number of breaths you take. Try the countdown method from 10 to 1 and not from 1 to 10. This is because counting upwards sometimes feels stressful, while countdown is always relaxing. Once you are comfortable with 10 to 1, try counting from 20 downwards. Slowly, with practice you will be able to focus on your breath, quite effortlessly.
In the beginning, try meditating on your breath just for five to ten minutes, and slowly increase the duration to 30 minutes. Not only while meditating, you can also try bringing your awareness on the breath, with your eyes open. You can keep your awareness while doing some routine work at home, which does not require much focus. After several months, the awareness will start coming on its own, without taking much effort. You will start enjoying any work you do.
But the real challenge is, how to keep your mind on breathing during the day, when you get a wave of negative thoughts. Here’s my example: I used to meditate every morning and focus on my breath. As long as my mind was focused on some work, it was fine, but in between when I sat idle, many negative thoughts started to flood my mind. Whenever I got upset, there were more negative thoughts, and I started reacting to them. After few months of Breathing Meditation and regular practice, I managed to take command of my awareness, and put a stop to the stream of thoughts, and my mind became quiet and calm.
Anchoring Your Breath Awareness
There is a scientific tool you can use to bring your mind to breathing easily. If you anchor your breath awareness to some physical action or gesture, it will be much easier to bring your awareness to the breath. This is based on the Principles of Neurolinguistic Association (NLP). I practiced it myself, and this is how it worked.
When you do regular Breathing Meditation every morning, you can use these hand gestures called Chin Mudra or Gyan Mudra – Join the index finger with the thumb in both hands and let the soft part of your fingertips touch each other. You must have observed many spiritual people use this gesture while meditating. The spiritual relevance is that the index finger symbolizes ego which brings arrogance; this is why we use the index finger to point at others. The thumb, on the other hand, symbolizes Universe or Cosmic Intelligence. Therefore, when you join the index finger with the thumb, you are surrendering your ego into the Universe, and, by doing so, you will become complete or whole. This gesture connects you with the Universe and you will be logged on to the Higher Intelligence.
When you regularly practice your awareness through this gesture, your brain will develop neuronal connections between Breathing and the Gesture. Later on, whenever you make this gesture, you will find your awareness will automatically reset itself to the breathing. This is a kind of positive conditioning you can develop over a period of time, which will keep you aware of your breath, and you will stay more in the present moment
Why do some people seem to be so happy and full of life while others seem to hate living? The happy people have not been poisoned by negative thinking. Negative thinking is a personal power zapper, leaving the victim with nothing but despair. Simple joys escape a negative thinker and cynical thinking is the rule of live.
How do you become a motivated positive thinker? Changing your perception of your life, your work and your relationships will go a long way in slowing and then stopping your negativity. Do the following exercise every day for thirty days and see what great things are in your life.
Get an index card and write on it in bold letters "What I am most happy about in my life". Under this question write a one or two word reminder for each and everything you are happy or grateful for. DO NOT ALLOW ANY NEGATIVITY to enter your answer.
On the other side write "I, (fill in you name), am a happy, outgoing, highly motivated person that recognizes mistakes, and failures are events and DO NOT define me as a person. I take responsibility for my actions and work hard to bring happiness and cheer to all those in my life INCLUDING myself." Now sign the card and put it in your pocket.
Each morning you will take the card out and read what you are most happy about. I want you to really feel the emotions associated with each item you wrote. Allow yourself to feel and be happy. It is your gift to yourself.
Now turn the card over and read the back while standing in front of the mirror. Draw yourself to your full height and say OUT LOUD in a firm confident voice. "I, (fill in you name), am a happy, outgoing, highly motivated person that recognizes mistakes, and failures are events and DO NOT define me as a person. I take responsibility for my actions and work hard to bring happiness and cheer to all those in my life INCLUDING myself."
Carry the card with you for the next thirty days. I want you to pull it out at certain times of the day. At least 5 other times throughout the day. You pick the times, but use certain things you do every day as a reminder. For example if you drive to work, read the card before getting out of the card and going in to work. Then read the card before going in your home after work. Read it at lunch, read it every time you go to the bathroom. Remember to read and FEEL the emotions.
Finally as you are getting reading for bed use the card and again read it OUT LOUD. Then retire for the night and only think of the great things in your life as you drift off to sleep.
If you are saying "I can't do that because..." then pretend you are an actor and act as if you are in a movie and say it convincingly for the audience. DO it every day until you have convinced yourself.
Lovely Thoughts for Lovely People Just Like You