Mindfulness meditation helps you to act consciously. An important ability in life is the ability to act automatically. Once we have learned certain tasks like riding a bike, driving a car or swimming, we cycle, drive or swim without much – if any – conscious effort or control being required. This can certainly be a good thing.
However when we are functioning on autopilot:
- we are not always aware of how we are responding to people or actions.
- this could be our physical actions – where we react to a problem or person negatively without thinking.
- thoughts and emotions may impulsively and without much control pop up in our mind and colour our experiences in a habitual fashion, without us even realising it, this can create anxiety and affect our mental health.
Another common mistaken belief about mindfulness meditation is that you have to constantly empty your mind.
When meditating you :
- engage in “non-judgemental awareness of sensations, feelings and state of mind” you shouldn’t try to “empty” your mind.
- try to let your thoughts, feelings and whatever emotions you are feeling at the time flow.
- don’t judge them, just let them come and go and be at peace with them. Just acknowledge and let your thoughts go and come back to the voice or breathing, whatever you are focusing on.