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3 Tips to Mindful Meditation

3 Tips to Mindful Meditation

"We are what we think.
All that we are arises with our thoughts.
With out thoughts we make the World.

1. Become the Observer

Your relationship to yourself is the longest and most important relationship you have. We have between 12,000 - 60,000 thoughts every day. How aware are you of what you are saying to yourself? Without making judgement, gently place your attention on whatever thoughts are surfacing. Practice witnessing your thoughts without attaching to them. Imagine they are fluffy thought clouds floating through the sky of your mind. Observe, and let go. Observe, and let go...
"Look within.
Within is the fountain of good,
and it will ever bubble up,
i f thou wilt ever dig."
-Marcus Aurelius

2. Return to Breath

Whenever your brain gets too loud, you can always return to your breath. Every morning I meditate, all I hear is static for the first minute or two because my mind is racing so fast. Once I pause, pull my shoulders back and down, anchor myself, and place attention on my breath - only then do I become aware of the stillness. Breath provides us with something to place our attention on when our thoughts are too loud. Our breath is a sanctuary we can visit at any point in the day, no matter how emotionally riled we may be. Meditation is a wonderful opportunity to practice returning to breath.

To become a rooftop
I built me from the bedrock
Made me right up
  -Leslie Feist

3. Anchor

I live in an apartment building, so it really helps to practice grounding excercises. One such exercise is called anchoring. It is a simple practice of imagining a cord emanating from the root chakra (the first chakra located at the base of the tail bone) all the way to the center of the Earth. In "Your Aura and your Chakras: An Owners Manual", Karla McLaren gives the following advice:

"There are only a few rules about creating your grounding cord: it should be securely anchored at both ends; there should be a constant downward flow, so it can be used as a cleansing tool; and the outside edges of the tube or cord should be rounded, without any holes, tears, or breaks to leak energy or confuse it. Beyond that , its size, color, and anchoring system are yours to create."

We never know how high we are
Till we are called to rise.
And then, if we are true to plan
Our statures touch the skies.
-Emily Dickinson

As with any habit, the most important thing is to just start. With a meditation practice of only 20 minutes a day, we are bound to experience a number of benefits. Through embodying the observer, we practice distancing ourselves from our thoughts and emotions, gaining new perspective. By returning to breath, we discover a sanctuary available to us at any point throughout the day. In anchoring, we learn to feel safe and secure in our own bodies, shedding unwanted energy. No matter how you choose to meditate, may your journey within be a blessed one.