Meditation and Mindfulness; Methods for Lasting Peace

Caucasian young woman contemplating the Bagan archeological zone at sunrise, temples pagodas and monastery coming out from the lush greenery. People travel concept.

Mindfulness is an essential and useful pathway that leads to peacefulness. It isn’t rocket science, it doesn’t require a trendy workshop, and it doesn’t require that you live in an ashram.

“Each place is the right place. The place where I now am can be a sacred space.”

– Ravi Ravindra

What is Mindfulness?

The most basic definition of mindfulness might be the act of paying attention to the things that you are experiencing, and then choosing peacefulness in relation to every action, person, thought, feeling, and response.

Mindfulness in its purest form has the following characteristics:

  • Being fully present to what’s happening in this moment
  • Leaving the past in the past
  • Letting fantasies of the future dissolve
  • Refraining from self-judgment and judging others
  • Keeping emotions in-check
  • Responding instead of reacting
  • Strengthening our connection to our core selves

While mindfulness might not require you to be warm-fuzzy, spiritually-focused, or heart-centered, it does require a measure of awareness about what you are presenting to others and how you are being received.

The positive net-result of mindfulness might be that the people you engage feel non-threatened, accepted, heard, and relaxed upon interacting with you. Meanwhile, you would most likely be unaffected by interactions with others, remaining fully aware of yourself throughout each experience.

Some say that kindness and love are vital to the experience of being mindful. I don’t agree with this sentiment. Many people are broken, lost, lonely, hurt, and disconnected from their heart. That’s their business.

Even in their states of broken-ness, I believe these types of people can still create a connection to their clarity, and remain aware of how they are affecting others. It’s in this way that almost anyone can represent mindfulness, even if only for a few moments.

The Mindfulness Movie

What is Meditation?

Meditation is an ancient practice that helps people go beyond their personalities and deeper within themselves so that they can experience a more profound and connected sense of their true Self and their realities.

While many forms and teachers have emerged since its inception, meditation hasn’t changed very much and continues to hold the fascination and respect of a long list of spiritual leaders, traditions, and religions.

Medication techniques can include something as simple as focusing on a flower and welcoming the beauty of that flower into our hearts. It might also involve training the mind and heart to be receptive to the present moment so that our awareness can expand.

The primary goal of meditation is to inspire the superfecta of peacefulness: spiritual connectedness, mental clarity, emotional tranquility, and physical relaxation.

Meditation can occur in any location, and at any time, although early mornings offer the most meditative atmospheres. During early mornings, our bodies are in restful states of self-nurturance This is also when all of the usual societal energies are dormant. Many monks arise at 3 am and meditate until 6 am.

The Difference Between Mindfulness and Meditation

Meditation is mindful by nature, although it might be said that meditation takes us beyond our minds and therefore helps us become more expanded when compared to basic mindfulness.

It might be said that mindfulness is a form of meditation, but the practice of mindfulness might not always be meditative. You might be present to this moment in all its glory, but you might not achieve a meditative state or move beyond the mind.

It might be that mindfulness brings us into the present moment so resolutely that we are present to the activities and behaviors of our minds. Meanwhile, meditation helps us go above, surpass, or supersede our mental processes.

“Concentration is a cornerstone of mindfulness practice. Your mindfulness will only be as robust as the capacity of your mind to be calm and stable. Without calmness, the mirror of mindfulness will have an agitated and choppy surface and will not be able to reflect things with any accuracy.”

– Jon Kabat-Zinn

Mindfulness Meditation

Mindfulness meditation is one of the least complex forms of meditation. The premise goes something like this: choose to peacefully focus on your actions, emotions, and thoughts as you experience them, without thinking of the past or future, and without any preconception, precondition, or judgment.

If you are walking in the park, feel your feet and breath, embrace the trees and flowers, be present to your surroundings and everything that you see, feel, and hear.

If you are speaking with another person, be fully present to every thought that comes to mind, distilling and then disregarding all of your emotions, opinions, judgments, and other mental fodder. Be present to and present with your actions, live within your words, and forge a pathway to your core Self.

One form of mindfulness meditation consists of focusing on an object or idea. This might involve mental imagery, relaxing a part of your body, calming your mind, or gently concentrating on the breath.

When doing mindfulness meditation, be present to your thoughts, words, and responses. Ignore all extraneous distractions and fodder. Enter this peaceful space often, and remain in it for as long as you can.

If you’re interested in learning more about the topic, you might consider searching for mindfulness training in your area.

The Mindful Revolution

Useful Meditation Techniques

There are many helpful meditation techniques. You might select a method within a specific tradition like Hinduism or Buddhism, or you might choose to meditate on the image of your deity.

Among many others, you might consider Kundalini, Zen, or Transcendental Meditation. Millions of people throughout the world utilize these forms of meditation to invite peacefulness, open their hearts, and expand their awareness.

Dr. Vasant Lad, one of the most remarkable innovators and leaders in Ayurvedic medicine, and Director of the Ayurvedic Institute in Albuquerque, NM once said to me, “To become the rose, you must meditate on the rose. That which you meditate on, you become.” I love this quote because it speaks to the core nature of meditation.

Through meditation, we can change our realities. By focusing on the most peaceful sounds, imagery, and aspects within creation, we begin to mirror them. Over time, we can embody the peace found in the loveliest flower and the most gentle wind.

Breath Meditation

  1. Find a quiet place and consider lighting a candle. Sit in a comfortable position, either on a meditation pillow (on the floor) or on a couch or chair. Be sure to have back support so that you are not tempted to slouch.
  2. Chant the sound “OM” three times.
  3. Close your eyes and take three deep breaths, inhaling and exhaling freely and deeply.
  4. Imagine that your breath is the key to your peacefulness. Imagine it to be a gentle river that can bring light and love into your body.
  5. For the next five to ten minutes, try to focus solely on your breath. Let go of mental imagery, the past, the future, stressors, and any interruptions emerging from your immediate environment. Be grateful throughout the experience.
  6. Focus on your incoming breath and enjoy it.
  7. Focus on your outgoing breath and enjoy it.
  8. In your mind’s eye, imagine each breath enter your body and exit your body. You might imagine that your breath is akin to white light, or you might want to assign another color to it.
  9. As your breath moves into and throughout your body, imagine that your breath is nurturing every organ.
  10. When you exhale, imagine that you are releasing stress and toxins.
  11. When you complete your five to ten minutes of focusing and breathing in this way, conclude your experience by chanting, “Om Shanti Shanti Shanti Om.”

Open your eyes and thank your heart and lungs for being full of life. Take a few moments to gather your energy and thoughts.

Throughout the day, consider the peacefulness you found during this meditation. Try to repeat this process tomorrow and continue from there.

“By concentrating on a form, sound or light, we learn to constantly be in that state of inner aloneness and to be joyful in any situation.”

— Amma

How Do I Begin?

If you can start by meditating for 2 minutes a day, you’ll be off to a great start. See if you can increase the number of minutes every day. Over time, you’ll establish a healthy habit of rising early and beginning the day with lovely clarity of mind.

You might also consider reciting Sanskrit mantras. A mantra helps us detach from our monkey-minds and focus on the highest vibrations.

If meditation and mantras are challenging, explore being in the present moment through mindfulness. Being mindful inspires peacefulness, clarity, and relaxation.

As a result of being mindful, you might experience improvements in your relationships, work dynamics, and physical health.



Next Article

6 Ways to Become Fully Present With Suffering

Life is about learning balance and how we interact with the world around us. It is a constant learning experience, to which we will become familiar with all of the emotions that a human being has, some of which are more pleasant than others.

Suffering on Earth is derived from the collective emotion held within humanity, which is why it is so important to learn to heal yourself first to help heal the planet.

As many great teachers of the past and present have taught us, often times it is not the experience itself that is the problem, it is how our human conditioning has taught us how to react. We’ve all experienced suffering in various ways.

Though it is uncomfortable and ugly, it is also very important to love each part of ourselves as human beings; to do that we have to understand the full spectrum of the human experience…the yin and the yang, the light and the dark. They co-exist together for a reason.

Aim to Be Like a Child

If you have children or have been around a small child, you will know that their experience of life is very different than yours. Their reactions are very in the moment. When they are upset, uncomfortable, or hungry they cry. There is no holding back, and no misunderstanding how they truly feel.

As we get older we learn what is considered an “acceptable” way to act in society. We learn that we can’t just have a meltdown anywhere when we are feeling upset. There are very specific circumstances that allow us to cry or feel angry, and some of us even go as far as to completely shut down our ability to feel our true emotions. I call this being “emotionally constipated!”

Babies’ ability to feel fully in the moment is a gift, because once they fully feel it, they release it instantaneously. There is no need to relive the experience later. It often takes very little to distract them with a new idea and change their emotion quickly. As we get older it is important to remember that innate wisdom within our bodies, because they react in direct correlation with the information we give them.

Fully Experience Your Emotions in the Moment

When your life is turned upside down and emotions are all over the place, take yourself into the moment and simply feel whatever disturbance is going on without resisting it. Take a chance and look silly in public if you need to.

When you can fully experience your emotions in the moment{.inline-media .inline-video} and let them wash over you, that turmoil will not collect in your body in a negative way. It is only when you deny and resist it that it collects and becomes unhealthy.

When you begin to feel imbalance in your life, the most effective way to take care of yourself is to honor where you are without judging the experience. Don’t compare yourself to others, because you are a unique individual!

Your experience is your experience, and there is no right or wrong or normal and abnormal. You are creating your body and life experience every day, and it’s unlike anyone else’s body or life experience.

6 Ways to Be Present with Suffering

Here are some steps you can take in a moment of distress and suffering to relieve yourself:

1. Stop whatever you are doing, and go inward. Listen to your body and become fully present.

Don’t try to change the way you feel in this moment. Instead, feel it for what it is without resisting it.

Say in your mind, “I honor this feeling of ______, even though it makes me uncomfortable or scared in this moment.”

Focus on the sensation, and surround yourself in a beautiful picture that feels comfortable, loving, and safe to you. I like to picture myself in a field of flowers with a soft breeze blowing through me, washing away anything that no longer serves my highest good.

2. Let the emotions fly

Let yourself go! Experience the anger, frustration, sadness, joy, excitement, fear, surprise, disgust, disapproval, remorse, and all the in-betweens. The goal is to express it.

However, it is also important to remember to make sure you are not putting anyone in danger while you are doing this. Whatever you are feeling in this moment is perfect; there is nothing wrong with it!

3. Trust any messages that come through your body as divine guidance

You might notice some sensations, ideas, or thoughts through your body as you become fully present in your experience.

When we become still, we are more receptive to receiving divine guidance from our higher selves.

Trust this loving guidance, or simply soak in this beautiful light that is holding you. We all have access to it when we call upon it.

4. Stay Present

Stay with the feeling until you feel it has fully washed over you and can be released. Take your time and don’t be tempted to rush through it.

Remember your well-being is the most important thing right now. You cannot be present with others until you are fully present with yourself.

5. Wait for Release

Just like with a baby, sometimes it takes five minutes, and sometimes two hours before we reach a point of release, but it eventually always comes.

Most of us force ourselves to get up and “shake it off” before we’re really ready. All that leftover emotion builds up and is stored within the body, despite our belief that it is gone once we choose to think it’s gone. Once the release happens, the weight falls off and you can now resume your day with your full presence.

6. Remember That You’re Not Alone

When you’re feeling suffering of any kind in life (and there are many!), remember you’re not alone. Remember to claim your strength and ask for help when you need it. You can’t do it all on your own.

Read Article

Related Articles

More In Meditation

Our unique blend of yoga, meditation, personal transformation, and alternative healing content is designed for those seeking to not just enhance their physical, spiritual, and intellectual capabilities, but to fuse them in the knowledge that the whole is always greater than the sum of its parts.


Desktop, laptop, tablet, phone devices with Gaia content on screens

Discover what Gaia has to offer.

Get instant access to free videos, helpful articles, and exclusive offers.
Testing message will be here