One can have no smaller or greater mastery than mastery of oneself.
—Leonardo da Vinci
Mindfulness meditation is a simple and effective way to develop positive qualities such as increased awareness, focus, emotional resilience, creativity, and empathy. Research in the past decade has confirmed that regular mindfulness meditation for a few minutes every day causes significant benefits and improvement in the quality of life.
The five most important benefits of daily mindfulness practice are:
1. Increased awareness and equanimity
A few minutes of practice every day gives you the opportunity to review events in the recent past. This helps you to correct any mistakes you may have done and to avoid such mistakes in future. Thus, daily mindfulness practice gradually and progressively improves the quality of your thoughts, words, and actions.
2. Interdependence of mindfulness and daily life
During daily mindfulness practice, you start to realize how your recent thoughts, words, and deeds affect your meditation practice. Through your own experience, you come to understand the harmful effects of your negative emotions, reactive words, and knee-jerk actions. This helps you to be more mindful and make more skilful choices in future.
3. Development of Positive Attitude
With continued mindfulness practice, you will be able to reduce the frequency, duration and intensity of mental negativities such as impatience, anger, anxiety, fear, and greed. In their place, you will develop beneficial mental qualities such as patience, tolerance, courage, compassion, equanimity and goodwill.
For example, in a situation where you earlier reacted with anger or anxiety, you may now act more positively and effectively. Also, your negativity may be less intense and you may be able to come out of it faster than before.
4. Value of Ethical Behavior
Whenever you behave in an unethical way, it disturbs your peace of mind and this becomes apparent during your mindfulness practice. Every unethical action is inherently self-destructive. You cannot harm others without harming yourself. Gradually, you will understand that living an ethical life is just an extension of your mindfulness practice.
5. Mindfulness During Meals
One of the ways in which you can extend the benefit of mindfulness is to eat food mindfully and in silence. Mindful eating helps you to avoid overeating and all its harmful consequences. Therefore, mindfulness has a key role to play in healthy eating.
In spite of its obvious benefits, you may find it difficult to meditate daily in the same way that you find it hard to exercise daily. Initially, it does require discipline to meditate daily. One effective way to develop a daily mindfulness practice is to meditate for a few minutes in the morning immediately after waking up and at night before you go to bed. Gradually, as the benefits become apparent, you will find it easier to make daily mindfulness practice an integral part of your daily life.
(9 April 2014)
Rohi Shetty is a freelance writer who riffs about the importance of humor, mindful mojo, and creative entrepreneurship at http://rohishetty.com. He is also a star student of Danny Iny’s Audience Business Masterclass. You can connect with him on Twitter at @rohishetty.