What does it mean to experience mindfulness?

By Andrew Jovanovic, LPC, CYT

I am in the practice of teaching Mindfulness/Meditation skills and concepts to my clients and those who are interested.  It is usually around the time that I introduce the body scan meditation that I start repeating “Mindfulness/Meditation is experiential in nature.”  This phrase sounds simple enough when saying it.  Often though, the implementation of this idea gets tricky when out in the world trying to be mindful.  Usually, certain types of questions begin to pop up as you run into obstacles or unsureness of your own practice.  What does it mean to experience mindfulness? Is it supposed to feel any particular way?  How do I know that I’m experiencing a mindful moment?

This idea of Mindfulness/Meditation being experiential is something that can seem foreign if you are used to just reading about something and being tested on the subject matter to demonstrate your ‘mastery’ of that area.  In this practice of awareness, you cannot test out of it by simply understanding the concepts.  Much of the real knowledge, insight or wisdom is married with the actual doing of the skills and concepts.  When experience is divorced from knowledge, individuals quickly find that there are many obstacles and barriers that did not fit perfectly into the textbooks they read or the lectures they listened to.  They become lost and needing to find some external guide.  This is a lot of energy and time being spent when the real guide is within you.  By learning to feel your body during enjoyable days, neutral moments, or unpleasant experiences – we begin to learn about ourselves and what we can do in response.

For example, upon completing a body scan meditation after a busy workday, you may notice that your body is still holding onto tension in several typical areas.  That your breathing feels shallow and held; your energy level feels low.  Afterwards you realize that before you start making dinner you need to do something to release the tension of your day.  If performing a body scan meditation while in an enjoyable experience you may notice that your body feels energized or excited.  Your mind is focused on the experience and not any number of worries you could be thinking about.  You realize this and decide to continue focusing on this experience and enjoying yourself.

Knowing these important qualities via a body scan meditation are crucial in understanding yourself and the process of opening space to create the change you want.  However, body scans are not always the most entertaining nor attention-getting process.  A daily practice will help promote and sustain your ability to engage in the scan when you need to.  I will be holding five virtual classes on just this meditation.  We will start with a short 3-minute body scan on day one and end with a 30-minute body scan on day 5.  Also, a focus on attitudinal qualities and meditation concepts will be presented.  Class starts on January 31st. Please click the button below for details.

now offering video therapy sessions

It's more important than ever to take care of your mental health, so all of our therapists are doing Telehealth and many have immediate openings for new clients.