Once you have experienced mindfulness meditation using guided meditations you may wish to practise meditation unguided. Here are some approaches you can take to doing mindfulness meditations for yourself.
Focusing on your breathing
You can do this at any time with your eyes open or closed. The preferred way to do this would be to sit comfortably with your eyes closed, and slowly breathe in and out with deep breathes and keep your attention on the breathing, on the feelings and sensations of the breathing, and if your mind wanders to different thoughts or ideas then notice that that has happened and bring your attention back to your breathing.
You may find you can only keep your focus for seconds initially, but as you keep at it you begin to go for minutes between times your mind wanders, and eventually you will last for much longer.
When doing this meditation you can choose how much you feel able to focus on as you progress. You could start by just focusing on the process of breathing in and out, and being aware that you are breathing in and out. Then you could progress to breathing in and out and noticing the whole breath, from where the air enters your nostrils to how it moves down your throat to your lungs, and how your body expands and contracts with each breath, and how as it contracts the air gets expelled and is at a different temperature to the air breathed in. Then you can progress on to noticing how the breathing is connected to the rest of your body, so each breath leads to getting oxygen to your lungs, which passes into blood and goes to your heart, and pumps around your body, etc…
Focus on a word or sound
Follow the same procedure as above, only this time say a word or make a sound like ‘Om’ and focus on this word. It is usually best to use a sound as the sound has no preconceived attachments, whereas a word will do. You can focus on just saying the word, or on the sensations and bodily feelings of saying the word, and like above you can get more into your awareness as you progress.
This approach works well for people that have mental chatter, as you are saying something which can help to stop mental chatter being able to enter your mind so easily.
Focus on an image
Following a similar procedure to above only this time you can focus on an image in your mind. This could be a totally created image, or you can look at something real, then close your eyes and imagine it, and notice as much as you can about it, then open your eyes, look at the real thing again, then close your eyes and imagine it in more detail. The idea is to try to hold that image in your minds eye for as long as you can and get it as clear as you can. This helps to build up mental imagery and imagination, which can help with memory retention and recall, as well as creativity and ability to plan and test things clearly in your mind first, before doing them for real.
Dan Jones © 2015