Mindfulness & Meditation
What It Is
Mindfulness and meditation are two big buzz words right now, and for good reason. But what the heck are they and why do they matter so much?
Mindfulness is a complex topic with varying definitions depending on the research you follow. To me, mindfulness is simply a way of practicing full conscious awareness by paying kind attention to what is happening in the present moment, with purpose and without judgement.
Do you ever find yourself compulsively checking your phone out of boredom, or because you're avoiding dealing with certain thoughts and feelings? Do you endlessly scroll social media, lose track of time, and then feel guilty for not getting shit done that you needed or wanted to do?
The temptations and distractions available to us today in this age of technology are often overpowering and ever present. Taking time regularly to search inside yourself instead of hitting up good ol' Google for all the answers is crucial if you're looking live a more fulfilling life.
Mindfulness helps you to stay focused (bye-bye multitasking) and enhances creativity and innovation. It also helps to curb anxiety caused by future tripping and perfectionism by keeping you focused on the present moment, which are two very common struggles - especially among women.
Incorporating more mindful moments throughout each day will allow you to feel less stressed and overwhelmed by being present in the moment, and more connected to yourself and the people you love.
One of the best ways to cultivate mindfulness is by meditating regularly. Practicing mindfulness through meditation allows you to become more comfortable being yourself and letting go of the judgments imposed upon you by others that make you feel like you need to change to live up to their expectations.
Meditation is a practice that will allow you to care for yourself in mind, body, and spirit. It helps to restore your sense of self-worth by cultivating awareness of your thoughts, unconditional acceptance of who you are and where you are on your journey, and instill a deep sense of connection and belonging in your body and on this Earth.
Practicing meditation is just that - a practice - and requires commitment and discipline. Both of these traits will allow you to make it a habit and enable you to sit through physical and emotional discomfort when they crop up. It's also a beautiful practice that allows you to see and honor yourself for who you are at your core.
Getting quiet and going within also allows you to tune in to what's going on in your physical body. Where are you feeling "off"? What cues or signals has your body been giving you that you may not be acknowledging?
Our bodies are so intelligent and the mind-body connection is very strong, but you have to be open and aware to what's going on physically in order to address and resolve physical symptoms of dis-ease. You have to make time to be quiet and really listen in on what your body needs.
During meditation, you learn how to cultivate mindfulness by continually reconnecting to the present moment, often through attention on the breath. You retrain your brain to become more open and accepting of your experiences and situations and end your suffering by addressing the root cause - your thoughts and limiting beliefs.
Through the process and practice of meditation, you will experience a range of thoughts, feelings, and emotions. By sitting with them and acknowledging them you can learn how to let go of what's no longer serving you and focus on what makes you feel good.
Your thoughts become your reality, so it's crucial to check in regularly with your mind and make sure you're aligning your thoughts with your goals, dreams, and desires - not consistently ruminating on what you're lacking and dissatisfied with.
You learn to detach from the labels, opinions, and judgments of yourself and others (good/bad, right/wrong, etc.) and truly accept yourself no matter what’s happening, internally or externally. Yes, I'm talking about loving yourself unconditionally, right now - without changing anything. Because you are enough in this moment.
Many of us are drawn to meditation as a way to feel better - and it can certainly help us with that. However, the main purpose of meditating is to provide you with the opportunity to have an open and compassionate attentiveness to whatever is going on for you at the present moment so that you may become fully awakened to your life.
Mindfulness and meditation are simply tools that allow you to follow the path to living your highest, best, and truest self.
What It isn't
It’s important to understand that meditation isn’t an instant fix or a one-size fits all model. It’s a beautiful, raw, and transformative process that will enable you to move closer and closer to yourself and requires courage and dedication to sit during times of tribulation.
One of the most common misconceptions of meditation is that the purpose is to create a blank slate in your mind's eye. However, the purpose of meditation is not necessarily to clear your mind completely of thought. Instead, focus on observing your thoughts as they arise and let them go without ruminating on them.
Meditation also doesn't require wearing weird robes, working with crystals (though I love to do so), and sitting for hours on end. It's much simpler than that and doesn't have to be just one more thing added to your to-do list; it's an experience during your day you can look forward to.
You can get comfortable sitting with yourself in stillness and silence. You can also grow into getting comfortable sitting with uncomfortable thoughts and feelings.
The hardest part is getting started, especially if you're new to a meditation practice. It's just like forming any new habit; the more you make time to sit with yourself and practice the better you'll feel and the more you'll want to continue to make time for it.
With the willingness to work through difficult thoughts and emotions, it will help to provide you with a fresh outlook on how to handle whatever you’re struggling with. By cultivating mindfulness, you'll also enjoy all the fun, exciting, happy moments in your life more fully, too!
No matter how you choose to practice, know that you have full permission to make it your own. Check out this blog post to read more about my personal meditation journey.
Want to dive even deeper?
Watch my 1.5 hour masterclass, Illuminate Your Life with the Magic of Mindfulness.
In this masterclass:
- You'll learn the difference between mindLESSness and mindfFULness, and the miraculous benefits of becoming your own mindfulness magician.
- We'll debunk some of the most common myths of meditation (hint: it's not about completely emptying your mind, or sitting for an hour at a time!).
- You’ll learn specific tools for creating a sustainable meditation practice so that you can harness the magic of mindfulness to nurture your mind, body, and spirit.
- You'll have an opportunity to participate in a short guided practice led by me to connect to yourself and decompress any tension in your mind and body.
- You'll also receive my Meditation 101 guide as well as the slides presented during the masterclass for reference.
Kendalyn Banks is not a health, medical, nor mental health professional. Any information presented before, during, and after a meditation session is not approved by the FDA and is not meant to serve as or substitute medical advice, nor is it meant to treat, cure, diagnose medical conditions. Please consult a physician if you are seeking medical assistance.