I wanted to share a little about Mindfulness, an ancient tradition that has taken the western world by storm.
So what is mindfulness and how can it help with daily life?
Mindfulness is about self awareness in the present moment. Aware of the thinking mind, aware of your feelings and emotions and awareness of your environment. It is not something we sit down and do like conventional meditation, but actually ‘a way of being’. By living mindfully we can be aware of the present moment and live life more fully. I think of it as informal meditation, mediation on the go, so to speak.
Scientific studies have shown that mindfulness not only prevents depression, but that it also positively affects the brain patterns underlying day-to-day anxiety, stress, depression and irritability so that when they arise, we have more control over them. Other studies have shown that regular meditator’s see their doctors less often and spend fewer days in hospital. Memory improves, creativity increases and reaction times become faster.
Anyone that has come to a meditation course with me will know that my favourite formal meditation (sit down) is the Four Parts of The Breath which comes from the mindfulness tradition. A typical meditation consists of focusing your full attention on your breath as it flows in and out of your body. Focusing on each breath in this way allows you to observe your thoughts as they arise in your mind and to let go of struggling with them. You come to realise that thoughts come and go of their own accord; that you are not your thoughts. You come to the profound understanding that thoughts and feelings (including negative ones) are transient. They come and they go, and ultimately, you have a choice about whether to act on them or not.
How it’s Helped Me
Two of the main things I get from being mindful is the ability to love myself more and love the people in my life more fully. To be fully present with them and really enjoy the moments of full awareness with them. I have stopped judging people, events, my feelings and thoughts. This feels like a weight been lifted and I can just appreciate myself and others more. To enjoy every moment even if it is not what I would like to be experiencing.