The promise of mindfulness meditation is that it can help you become more aware of who you are without the sting of judgment. Unlike some other forms of meditation, mindfulness meditation is not directed toward getting you to think differently. Its goal is to help you become aware of what is already true in the moment. To accept that truth without trying to change it. For people involved in therapy, mindfulness meditation can help them tolerate very strong emotions, and thus advance their healing.

So how do you engage in mindfulness meditation? It\’s a three-part venture—body, breath and mind.

The body. Pay attention to your physical environment. Find a quiet spot where your can sit and meditate without interruption. You may even want to create some kind of alter where you place objects, like photos, for example, that are important to you. You may want to incorporate candles or incense that trigger your mind to begin the meditation process. Or you may decide you don\’t need anything at all in your space. Just choose a spot where there is no obvious distraction like a television or computer.

Determine how you will sit. The object is to be alert but comfortable. You may sit on a chair, but choose one that gives you upright support. If you sit cross-legged on the floor you may want to have a cushion or a folded blanket to keep your hips higher than your knees to protect your back. Your posture should be erect but not rigid, and your back strong. Your hands may rest on your thighs. You may close your eyes. Or, they may be open, but try to soften your gaze. Focus gently on a spot four to six feet in front of you, and let your eyes rest.

Once you are seated and are accustomed to your posture, note how your mind wanders—and it will—and bring it back to your body and your environment.

The breath. Begin to pay attention to your breath. Feel it as it ebbs and flows through your body. Gently notice its rhythm. Do not force it to go faster or slower, deeper or shallower—just notice it and let it be. Sit quietly and feel your breath going in and out. Let your attention take in your breath, your body and your environment.

The mind. Your attention will wander, and you will notice thoughts coming into your mind, often unbidden. Sometimes your thoughts will overlap and come quickly, one after another, sometimes disjointed. Let them come. When you notice you are so caught up in your thoughts that you have forgotten you are meditating, gently remind yourself to take a breath and bring yourself back. The newer you are to meditating, the more often your thoughts will wander, and the more you will remind yourself to return to attention to your breath.

Remember, you want to be mindful no matter what thoughts come into your head. It is not about expelling thoughts and making your mind blank. It is about accepting your thoughts and being with yourself as you truly are. It is about being aware of what is happening within you from moment to moment.

Nancy Travers is an Orange County Counseling professional.  If you need safe, effective counseling services, please get in touch.  You can reach her here: