Observation meditation includes observing yourself, your thoughts, and the world around you. Whenever you practice observation meditation, you self reflect and view
yourself in relation to the world around you.
What is observation meditation?
Though it is a common myth that meditation requires shutting your mind,
many people view meditation as the art of observing your thoughts.
Whenever you observe your thoughts in meditation, you allow your mind to
relax and meld with your body.
In short, observation meditation is when you meditate to your
observational thoughts. Though this may seem odd, it is very common and
utilizes your stream of thought for meditative purposes, combating the
myth that meditation requires emptying your mind.
When you observe your stream of thought, you observe the way your body
feels and your interaction with the world. You should observe things like
muscle tension, breath, the feel of the floor, the feel of the air, and anything
that affects your senses. You can make these observations either through
mindfulness or positive self-talk.
Benefits of observation meditation
Observation meditation is beneficial for a number of reasons. Notably,
observational meditation encourages positive self-talk. Positive self-talk is
when you acknowledge your feelings and don’t judge yourself for them.
Many people get in the habit of ridiculing their own thoughts, but observation meditation does the opposite.
Whenever you practice positive self-talk, you are more likely to have an
optimistic mindset and view of the world. As a result, you experience a
happier well being.
Another benefit of observation meditation is that it sharpens your focus.
Humans think all the time, but we seldom think about our thoughts, and we
let them aimlessly wander, instead. Observation meditation forces us to
focus on our own thoughts, which then increases our ability to focus.
A third benefit of observation meditation is that you get to know yourself
better. Everyone knows that the best way to get to know someone is to talk
to them and find out what they think about things. The same goes for
yourself: you can get to know yourself better by listening to your own
thoughts. Though knowing yourself may seem ridiculous, very few people are aware
of their feelings and triggers, which causes them to lash out or feel hurt
without ever knowing why. When you get to know yourself, you become
aware of these things, giving you the power to make changes and grow as
Here is a common observation meditation practice:
Begin by sitting in a comfortable seated position. Close your eyes, an
place your hands on your legs. Draw attention to your breath, and begin to
slow it down. As your breath slows, pay attention to how you feel when you
breathe, the temperature of the air, and anything else related to the breath.
As you become more aware of your breath, allow yourself to start focusing
on other parts of the body as well. Do your hands feel awkward on your
legs? Is the floor cold? How do your knees feel if they’re bent? Ask
questions like these so that you become aware of how your body feels at
Once you feel that you have adequately observed your physical body, allow
your brain to wander. Take note of the thoughts that come into your head.
Instead of quickly dismissing them, listen to them, and then let them go. As
your thought goes, you may find that another thought pops into your head.
Do the same for this thought as well.
You can think about your thoughts for as long as you would like. Whenever
you are finished, bring your attention back to the body. Does it feel any
different than it did at the beginning? If so, note how.
At this point, you may want to move your body a bit. You can extend your
legs out, raise your arms, lay down, or stand up. Just do whatever feels
right to your body. If you feel any tension, for instance, you may want to
stretch out that muscle.
No matter what movement you choose, pay attention to how the body feels.
Take note of how the muscles contract and move and how differently they
feel then they did when you were seated. Do not just move around. Truly
think about how your body feels and observe the way it moves.
Once you feel that you have adequately moved, you should gently bring
yourself back to a seated or laid position. Close your eyes, and begin to
focus on your breath again. Observe your breath and your thoughts one
last time. Gently begin to open your eyes bye cracking your eyelids open a
little bit at a time. Observe how the light feels.
Once your eyes are completely opened, the practice is finished. Even
though the practice is over, you can still incorporate observation meditation
Into your day or night. Whenever you feel a pain or are letting your mind
wander, check-in with yourself.
Checking in throughout the day is a fast and easy way to practice
observation meditation without rearranging your schedule. You can do this
whether you’re sitting at your desk, waiting in line, or driving to work.
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