Going Into And Coming Out of Meditation…..Mindfully:
There are many meditation traditions that involve establishing almost ritualistic approaches to starting and stopping the experience. There are a number of reasons this is done but the primary is probably to prepare oneself to shift into whatever state of consciousness is being aimed for. These small rituals are designed to set the tone for the shift and can be as simple as wearing symbolic clothing, entering a prepared place, ringing a bell or adhering to a specific time.
This is an excellent way to condition oneself into shifting gears and going into the meditative experience. Dare I say it is much like Pavlov’s dog when at the hint of food it begins to salivate. These kinds of meditations are generally used to explore “altered states” and can be a rich and educating experience.
Mindfulness meditation on the other hand is used to create “unaltered states”. Before exploring “altered states” it is my strong recommendation to be grounded in the body in the present moment. Since altered states generally involve “going elsewhere” it is important to have a road map back to the here and now. It is possible to combine the two but that will be the subject of a future blog. With mindfulness meditation we actually want to blur the lines between meditation and not meditation.
I’ve known many people who are excellent meditators but lose the benefit of meditation when not meditating. With mindfulness meditation it is important to immediately build the bridge between meditation and every day activity. One of the ways of doing this is to break habits associated with going into and coming out of meditation. No bells, no traditional garb etc. just complete fluidity of the meditation practice into daily activity. Perhaps start and end with eyes open and a little movement helping to bridge the experience. Be mindful in daily activity and combined with meditation you will have a 24×7 experience of mindfulness.