Mindfulness Meditation, Part I: What It Is and Basic Practice
Part II: Health Benefits, in next week’s bulletin
Have you heard of the health benefits of practicing mindfulness meditation?  Do you have an understanding of what it is?  While it is not considered a religious practice, it certainly has a spiritual health benefit, especially if used to focus on our daily encounters or experiences of God.  To define it, a “Perspectives on Psychological Science” study described it well as “the nonjudgmental awareness of experiences in the present moment”.   Kate Hanley, author of “A Year of Daily Calm” describes Mindfulness as a practice that involves being fully engaged in whatever is going on around you.  “It is simply the act of paying attention to whatever you are experiencing, as you experience it.”  It might be amazing to discover how often we encounter God on a daily basis when we slow down and mindfully discover our experiences of the present moment.

Here is a mindfulness meditation technique for beginners:

1.Find a quiet and comfortable place.  Sit in a chair or on the floor with your head, neck and back straight but not stiff.
2.Try to put aside all thoughts of the past and the future and stay in the present.  Ask God to be with you in the present moment.
3.Become aware of your breath, focusing on the sensation of air moving in and out of your body as you breathe.  Feel your belly rise and fall, the air enter your nostrils and leave your mouth.  Pay attention to the way each breath changes and is different.
4.Watch every thought come and go, whether it be a worry, fear, anxiety or hope.  When thoughts come up in your mind, don't ignore or suppress them but simply note them, remain calm and use your breathing as an anchor.
5.If you find yourself getting carried away in your thoughts, observe where your mind went off to, without judging, and simply return to your breathing. Remember not to be hard on yourself if this happens.
6.As the time comes to a close, sit for a minute or two, becoming aware of where you are. Get up gradually.
There's no law that says you must be sitting comfortably in a quiet room to practice mindfulness. Our daily routines might turn into healthful moments of mindful meditation: while doing the dishes, brushing teeth, driving the car, cleaning the house or doing yard work, or how about bedtime routines with young children. No matter the moment, slow down, turn off the technology clutter and become mindful of the moment and experience. It may just be the beginning of a healthy new habit - and a great way to encounter God in our daily lives.

Peace and health in Christ,   Marcia L. Isherwood, RN, BSN    
Aurora Parish Nurse in Partnership with St. John Lutheran/Cudahy   
Ofc: M-W-F 414-288-5288   Ofc: Tu-Th 414-481-0520