I can’t believe it’s been a year since my last written post! April seems to be the month for feeling inspired to write.
So this time I'm writing about mindfulness. It's one of the biggest buzzwords flying around today and I'm going to explain it quite simply so you can go ahead and practice it straight away and see for yourselves; the peace of mind you can have - literally! And...it's free!
Right now, I’m teaching mindfulness (among other personal development strategies) to a bunch of women who have just exited the prison system, and they tell me that mindfulness is really working for them. I too have been practicing meditation and mindfulness for 20 years or so now, and am a zillion times more still, calm and at peace with myself.
So, what is it? Well, mindfulness is a technique that's been practiced in many spiritual/meditation traditions for 1000s of years. And is now being used as an everyday practice for everyone and anyone. More generally aimed at reducing the worries, anxieties and stresses of one's daily life that can wreak havoc on health, relationships or your own sanity!
Mindfulness is about purely being aware in the present moment. For example when you're eating ice-cream. Just. Eat. Ice-cream. That is placing 100% of your attention on eating that ice-cream - nothing else. It's about noticing and observing the taste, the flavours, the textures, the cold and all the other sensations that come with the experience of eating ice-cream - and staying purely with this experience. Most of us would mindlessly eat the ice-cream and think about what we did that day, or think about something from the past. Or... we'll be thinking about what we're going to do next or about something in the future. Or... maybe we're looking around the room, making judgements: "what a mess!". "look at the woman's outfit!" or judging ourselves even “I’m an idiot for xyz…”. Rarely do we ever sit in the present and just eat ice-cream.
In that moment of eating ice-cream, you will have experienced peace (unless you got frozen brain - I hate frozen brain).
It is simple to do, and takes a bit of practice. Since as humans we have extremely well-trained minds in the skill of thinking and worrying and thinking and worrying and thinking and worrying some more! At the end of the day you're giving yourself a gift of yourself, to yourself.
Very few people have mastered mindfulness completely. So, don't pressure yourself to be perfect at it within 1 year or 10+ years, even. We are all masters in the making. It's an ongoing process where we're building mind-muscle to the degree where it becomes easier and easier to do. The art to mindfulness (and meditation for that matter), is noticing when you have trailed off thinking, and simply returning your awareness or attention to the task that you’re doing.
I do tell you though, if you begin to practice mindfulness now - even a small amount, you WILL notice change. Whether you suffer from anxiety, depression or some other serious mental health issue, or whether you just want to de-stress more. You may even take it right through to full-blown spiritual awakening if you push mindfulness to its limits. In fact, there are no limits to this practice.
Take a break from your mind without having to resort to alcohol, drugs or whatever else you might do to get out of your mind! You can do it the natural and cheap way (except if you're buying the most expensive ice-cream in the world like the 'Black Diamond' ice-cream from Dubai. Imagine wolfing a bowl of that down mindlessly at $813 a scoop!).
Practice mindfulness anywhere, anytime - doing anything - in the shower, eating, walking, driving or cooking. By observing and noticing everything related to the task/object/experience you’re focussing on – nothing else. Notice when you start to wander off thinking – but bring your attention back. And give yourself a break from the mind!
That’s it! Simple huh?
The benefits are endless and I TOTALLY dig it!
If you want a little more detailed information on the how to's, click here, and I'll send you some more information (free of course) to guide you on your merry way to mindfulness. In my next posting I will explain how to take mindfulness to a more advanced level.