Had a big moment in meditation today: For the first time, I managed to achieve the state of mind the dummies book calls "mindfulness." I experienced it as something very new to me: simple awareness and existence.
Normally, my mind runs a million miles a minute. Even in the most mundane of moments, I'm always thinking about *something*; it's a gift, and it's a burden. And, in times of uncertainty and change (like, for instance, the last few months), very often my mind turns to thoughts of obstacles, calamities, and failure. Long story short, it ain't healthy. Learning to control my mind better has been one of my goals in the general program of self-improvement I'm on now, of which meditation is a not-insubstantial part.
What happened this morning was something I found rather amazing simply because it happens to me so rarely: my mind cleared. The river of thought slowed to a trickle, and what few thoughts did arise simply slid away. It was like my brain was made of teflon or something. All I felt, all I expreienced, was simple being. It was kinda neat.
Weird bit of irony: I've been practicing a breath-counting method of relaxing my mind. To help myself keep count, I've been breathing loudly. When the mindfulness kicked in, though, I stopped doing that. I'm pretty sure I was breathing as deeply, but the sound went away. Putting such an effort into my breathing was actually increasing my tension instead of decreasing it. In a more peaceful state, my breath came naturally. One of those things that makes perfect sense only after you realize it.
The sensation only lasted for five to seven minutes before I started slipping back to myself, but now that I've done it, I'm confident that I can do it again. I'm looking forward to it, actually.