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Mindful Meditation

My conflicting experiences with mindful meditation

Image: Baby Rolo, before learning meditation.

I’ve had mixed experiences with mindfulness. At times it has felt like a waste of time, so I stopped. Other times I have had bad teachers that confused and annoyed me, also causing me to stop. But as it is in vogue, I keep hearing again and again about the benefits…. Even from my psychiatrist.

So, I watched a Mind: Explained series episode on it on Netflix and came across some of the neuroscience for it, which was conducted with the Tibetan monk Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche. I looked up Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche on YouTube and I discovered he uploaded videos of his teachings.

With this great teacher, finally the method and benefits of mindfulness became clear. If you’d like to check out his videos, he will explain mindfulness much better than me, but in essence it is about awareness, and awareness of being aware. So, the actual act of mindfulness is not about stilling the mind or finding peace. They often do come with time, but if you set out to get them before anything else, they will say “I’m busy, make an appointment!”.

As I got back into this mindfulness about a year ago, finally getting it, I am by no means a monk nor experienced. I needed to choose an amount of time to meditate regularly, so that I would be consistent, rather than peak too soon with my enthusiasm. I loosely decided I would do a minimum of 5 minutes a day meditating. Sometimes I go up to 20min, but usually I’ve stuck to 10-15min.

For my meditation I choose an experience to focus on in advance, like sounds, touch, smells, my breathing, walking, drinking (tea), eating, or general bodily sensations like the tension of muscles or joints. As awareness drifts often for beginners like me, the mindful part is bringing your attention back to your chosen stimulus. I find occasionally while doing this, if I can be aware of my current state, it gradually transforms to tranquillity. If I’m desperate to be tranquil due to an upset though, it doesn’t come, like I explained. But that’s ok, cos it allows me to know more about that feeling for me, and that is the main objective. Being tranquil is only a common by-product.

In sum, if you’ve never found mindfulness helpful, I hear you. But, maybe with a teacher that suits you, you will find benefits. Maybe you still won’t like it, and that’s fine too, but in case you’re open to trying again, I’ve put links to Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche’s videos, as well as that of a great Vietnamese monk, Thich Nhat Hanh, and a great British monk, Gelong Thubten.

All the best to you fine folk reading this.




Hi there,

Lauren Sims is an artist and author from Brisbane, Australia. She has recently become and author and will be releasing her first book in late 2022.

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