What is Mindfulness Meditation?
Mindfulness seems to be becoming a more and more common word. But what exactly is mindfulness? The word “mindfulness” is a translation of the Pali word sati. When we hear it, it’s often being used to describe the quality of being present. Although being present is a big part of mindfulness, there is actually another piece that is crucial: to have some level of reflection. Mindfulness is not simply being here now; it involves a reflective or investigative quality. Mindfulness is looking at our present-time experience with curiosity. In mindfulness practice we remain present, while also recognizing wholesome qualities, hindrances, bodily sensations, and more. We do this through observation. We don’t get involved, try to figure anything out, or change the experience. We simply return to the present experience over and over in order to gain insight into how the mind works.
Benefits of Mindfulness Meditation
As one of the most common types of meditation, mindfulness has many benefits. First, mindfulness helps us change our relationship to experience and not react as much. As we continue to practice, we see the causes of our thoughts and emotions and no longer identify so strongly with each one. We recognize it, and are able to let it pass.
Second, mindfulness helps us know what is going on. Rather than being upset and not seeing clearly, we are more easily able to know what is occurring with the mind. This is helpful both in meditation and in daily life. These first two benefits are wide-reaching, and may bring changes in anger, jealousy, anxiety, fear, and many more unpleasant states.
Finally, the Buddha taught mindfulness as the direct path to liberation. In the Satipatthana Sutta, which contains the teachings on the Four Foundations of Mindfulness, the Buddha gives clear instructions which encourage full realization of the dharma.
Guided Mindfulness Meditations
There are many different ways to practice mindfulness meditation. As discussed in the Satipatthana Sutta, we can practice mindfulness of many different processes. Below you may find some guided mindfulness meditations on different subjects. Please feel free to stream or download any of the meditations!