In almost every class, Seth rang the Bell of Mindfulness allowing us to breathe and take a moment to relax. This practice of meditation allows us to drop all our worries for a minute or two, and gives us the opportunity to have a moment for ourselves. Seth told us to focus on our breath, bodily sensations, the sounds we heard around the room. When I first heard the Bell of Mindfulness, I used that moment to think about all things I had to accomplish. I had a million and one thoughts going through my head, but as the semester went on, I used that moment to collect myself, basically time to think about absolutely nothing and focus on the rings of the bell. Between work and accelerated 7-week classes, this summer has been pretty busy and hectic, so having just that moment to myself felt really good.
Since class is coming to an end, I decided to look up some methods of relaxation that I can do on my own. A lot of information came up for meditation. To me, I think of meditation as sitting Indian style on the floor with fingertips touching, humming for hours on end, but there are so many ways to meditate. There are actually simple everyday things, some that we do on a regular basis, that are considered a form of meditation. Some of these things include: listening to music, drinking a hot drink, practicing yoga, taking a drive or taking a walk, journaling, creating art, and even getting a massage. Personally, I like taking drives to relax or clear my mind. While driving I focus a lot to the environment around me. Sometimes I even drive without my radio off, just to have a moment of silence. Another way I like to relax is by doing yoga. At first, I practiced yoga for strictly exercise but then I noticed I felt more at ease and my head was not cloudy with thoughts after the session. Whenever I start feeling stressed, I grab my mat and head to a yoga class. I guess driving and yoga are like my ways of meditation.
The most important thing about meditation is mindfulness. But what exactly is mindfulness? Mindfulness is maintaining a moment of awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surroundings. Several articles that I read about mindfulness states practicing mindfulness is very beneficial. Adding more mindfulness into life allows stress and worries to melt away. Mentally, it increases positive thought and emotions and helps us tune out distractions. Some studies have shown it also helps us physically by boosting our immune system. Below is a video of Jon Kabat-Zinn presenting observations of the benefits from studies of mindfulness. He explains how mindfulness changes us and how it can transform us into less self-centered people into happier people. He also explains how mindfulness can benefit us physically.
Even though class is coming to an end and we will no longer hear the rings of the Bell of Mindfulness, I think we should all continue to take a few moments out of the day to stop and come to one with ourselves, or even do an activity that you enjoy to clear the mind. It will benefit us all in the long run.