Mindfulness practice for relationships is easily available and effective. Though the term is often mistaken as referring to just one thing, in fact it comes in a variety of forms. Finding the right form for you at this time makes using it well a lot easier.
It allows you to step back and get perspective on the changes, losses, and accommodations that aging and relationships both bring, ready or not. It even has been shown to change the physical structure of your brain in ways that make you able to be more accepting, flexible, calm and effective. Yet, with all these potential benefits, it requires little more than your intention and commitment to do it. The rest just happens.
Like most everything else, starting to do a mindfulness practice for relationships puts you right up against all the varying levels of complexity and skill that can be attained, but so much can be gained from even the simplest approaches that it deserves our attention and effort for a reasonable trial.
It really is as simple as setting aside a period of quiet, uninterrupted time during which you sit comfortably still and simply notice your breathing. Without changing how you are breathing or analyzing it, just place your awareness on it. When your focus of attention drifts away from your breathing, be it to thoughts, things you notice around you, or physical sensations within your body, gently bring your attention back to your breathing without judgment or analysis. Do this for 10 to 20 minutes each day and notice what your experience of it is. If you feel that you absolutely must say something about any part of the experience, try to keep it to "isn't that interesting" or some such acknowledgment that you did indeed notice something without judging.
Choosing to undertake mindfulness practice for relationships can be valuable in and of itself. The mere intention to set aside open ended and yet disciplined time each day for your relationship can have results that you can't predict.
The book by Ram Dass shown to the left here is a treasure trove of helpful information on meditation that I have found to be consistently useful and encouraging.
Meditation also can be can be quite challenging, since you're likely moving into areas where a life of habits, assumptions, and beliefs may need to be re-worked for full value. Give yourself a reasonable amount of time to get used to doing this before you decide whether it is "working" for you or not. It is a skill and it takes some time to develop it. The important thing is not whether you will experience distractions or not (you will), but how gently and kindly you can direction your attention back to the breathing. This is a skill and as such takes a while to get the hang of it. A week of practicing it at least once every day is probably a reasonable period of time to do it before deciding whether you want to keep on or not.
Be aware that starting to do any mindfulness practice let alone with one an intention or hope of something happening in any specific area of your experience such as doing a mindfulness practice for relationships is often reported to result in feeling less calm and focused, not more at first. As with any other distraction, just gently and kindly return your attention to your breathing. Sometimes this is because instead of just noticing the breathing we start to control it causing various discomforts to follow and instead of letting thoughts, memories, images be noticed and allowed to pass on by, we stuck on one or several and go into thinking. Your body knows how to breathe. Trust in that, keep watching, and let the rest sort itself out.
You Can Choose The Best Form For You
For many of us, since most any mindfulness practice involves not-doing more than doing, it can be a bit of a challenge. Especially when that is the case, it is well worth the effort to stick with it and to get help from those further along the path when needed.
The altruistic meditation described in the video at the top of this page offers a lot to couples seeking to strengthen their connection. The form described there is a Metta Meditation which you can read more about HERE and many other sources.
The approach to using this general technique to self and relationship improvement that has been most effective and doable for me has been the one described by Michael Brown in his book The Presence Process on the relationships books page of this site. In it he leads you through a comprehensive, step-by-step program that can be adapted to just about any situation.
Eckhart Tolle is less specific about the practice itself, which is for some an advantage and others a disadvantage, but what he describes is assisted by some ability to focus.
A very nicely done description of mindfulness practice for Christians can be found on the St. David's Breath blog here.
Click here to see a report on a study at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on how mindfulness practice for relationships actually affected the participants and their relationships. The part that interested me most was how doing just about anything in this realm seemed to be helpful.
best approach is often as simple as setting aside a period of quiet, uninterrupted time during which you sit comfortably still and simply notice your breathing. Without changing how you are breathing or analyzing it, just place
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