So what is mindfulness? It is the art of staying focused on the moment. It involves acceptance and paying attention to thoughts and feelings without any judgement. It is a way of being present, being in the here and now, not focusing on past events; they are past. Not imagining future events; they have not yet arrived. It is about focusing on the here and now; the present moment.
The human mind is very easily distracted and we often lead very stressful, fast-paced lives. There are many daily distractions to deal with; social media, emails, television and so on.
Practising mindfulness cannot get rid of all the stress in our lives but it can help us to respond to that stress in a more positive manner.
In Eckhart Tolle’s “A New Earth” he recommends that it is vital to ask yourself frequently this:
“What is my relationship to the present moment?”
He suggests that asking this question is a good way of bringing yourself into a state of being in the now. When you are present, your attention is in the now and being in this state of presence will flow into and transform whatever you are doing. You cannot, he suggests, be present unless you are fully aware of the moment.
Practising mindfulness allows us to be fully present, therefore improving our quality of life, our daily and working existence.
Being present in the moment takes practise, it’s an acquired skill. It is quite natural to “forget” to be present and get wrapped up in whatever activities are taking place. Be mindful and present when you remember. Finding space between thoughts will become easier the more you practise. Don’t beat yourself up if you forget about it.
Practising mindfulness can be done anywhere, see previous post; https://angelreis.com/2018/02/02/mindfulness-on-the-go/ .
- Mindfulness can be done formally as a meditation. Try to do your meditation at the same time of day. Choose a place where you won’t be disturbed.
- Set a time limit. It can be five minutes or ten minutes to start with. This can be increased gradually. Remember five minutes is better that none.
- Sit quietly and focus on the breath. If your mind wanders, bring it back to the breath.
- If you struggle focusing on the breath, focus on external noises. For example, the ticking of a clock, the wind in the trees, birdsong or the distant murmur of traffic.
- Allow thoughts to pass by without judgement. Bring your focus back to the breath.
- If thoughts come into your mind, quietly accept them and allow them to pass.
- If you’re sitting in meditation, finish your practise by having a stretch to help you readjust and realign your body.
- Practise mindfulness at times throughout the day wherever possible. This can be done whilst walking, sat at a desk or doing household chores. Focus on an object; a cup, a blade of grass, a flower. Be an observer rather than a participant.
Reference and further reading:
Tolle, E., (2005), A New Earth; Create a Better Life, Penguin Books, England.