A relaxed body is a relaxed mind and visa versa. The simple act of breathing deeply and consciously, oxygenates the blood, improves digestion, increases metabolism and is very relaxing. When looked at from this perspective, a meditation practice that is focused on the breath can induce positive physiological changes that relax the body and improve mental outlook. Here’s the paradox, while relaxation and happiness are often associated with enjoyable activities, such as going on a vacation, meditation or golf, a common misconception is that feelings of happiness and wellbeing are being created by the activity. In other words, we have a tendency to believe that it is the golf, the meditation or the vacation that is making us happy.
The truth is, is when we are engrossed in activities that we enjoy our minds are focused in the present moment. Presence allows for happiness, health, and wellbeing to arise as our experience, simply because we’ve stopped paying attention to our thoughts, our obsessions and our desires if only for a few moments or an afternoon. For happiness to arise from within requires that happiness already be present within, if only as a potential. It is true then that happiness, wellness and enlightenment are all synonyms for a natural state of perfection that is already present within you and operates as you.
This month your mindfulness practice is to create an intention affirmation. First, start by contemplating within your own heart and mind what your intention is for the day (your intention will change with your needs). Next write down your intention as an affirmation. For example, if your intention is to be more calm, then you’d write, “I am calm and at ease,” ten times. When you do this you are mentally affirming the potential for being calm that is already within you. Think of it as creating a nurturing environment for the seed of calmness within to grow and to blossom. You can even use your affirmation as a mantra for your meditation practice. For example, on the inhale say silently to yourself, “I AM,” and on the exhale, “calm,” ten or more times. When you are finished chanting your intention affirmation, direct your attention to your breath and sit silently for as long as you wish. This is a beautiful practice and one that I enjoy doing as well.
Photo Credit: jasper guy