The practice of Mindfulness
Mindfulness is the practice of focusing your attention on what is happening in the present moment, without trying to resist the experience, judging it as good or bad, and with the intention of accepting whatever arises from a place of authentic curiosity and acceptance.
Such a practice can help you to better work with your emotions from a place of compassion, notice and observe your thoughts without getting caught up in them, and work with your breath, body, and sensations in a way that supports you so that you can be more skilled at responding rather than reacting.
This is particularly why mindfulness has the capacity to help with difficulties related to stress, anxiety, and depression and puts you more in control with your own set of tangible tools to use in the moment.
With this type of awareness, over time, your experience will begin to transform. Your ability to be mindful in the midst of whatever is happening can become your superpower and will feel a greater sense of control, empowerment, and peace.
The interest in mindfulness has certainly grown in popularity over the last decade; however, this has come with some aspect of "hype," possibly outpacing a basic embodied understanding of what "it" truly is. Most folks equate mindfulness with the practice of meditation. While meditation is an aspect of mindfulness, or more so an exercise in training your awareness, there are many other ways to practice mindfulness and ways to integrate the philosophy and practice into your life.
In essence, mindfulness is a state of conscious awareness. It is a state where you are consciously aware of your thoughts, feelings, sensations, breath, body, sensations, reactions, and responses, as they are happening at the moment, rather than running on autopilot or being filled fueled by any habitual reactions, tendencies, and patterns. This can be a helpful shift, especially if your reactions tend to contribute to your own sense of stress, anxiety, depression, or overall suffering.
In the process, you can learn to accept and work with all the factors as they are, instead of trying to resist them or get overly identified with them. This is also done from a place of non-judgment, which can be hard for many, and from a place of compassion. The importance of the present moment is highly emphasized.
Overall, mindfulness is also about accepting and working with yourself as you are, the sum of all of your experiences, the good, the bad, the difficult, the struggles, the wounds, the shadows of your being, and your habitual reactivity or patterns that lead to suffering. It also is aware of the light and the joys, the wins, the places in between, the rose and the thorn, and the many aspects of what it is to be a human living on this day in the time. It involves being more intentional with our time and attention, which are both precious resources.
This may be a little different than the usual way we tent to relate as to ourselves and others. This could be due to the constant distractions vying for our precious attention, many of us have a tendency to live in the past or future, which tends to be a breeding ground for depression and anxiety. Furthermore, rarely for most, has the mindful way been effectively taught to us either by our early forms of education or by our family of origin or upbringing. But it is of my opinion that many have grown tired of this way of functioning and are desiring more peace, less stress, and deeper connections with themselves and others.
Mindfulness is a lifestyle and practice, an attitude, a way of being, and most importantly a conscious choice. It is liberating, revealing, supportive, and empowering. The great part it is also a beautiful journey that unfolds every time and it is worth it because true freedom comes from within. Imagine riding the waves of whatever happens externally or internally and not being steady, grounded, ........
It's time to take your attention back and live a life of True Freedom. A freedom that comes from Within.
‘If we are truly to become mindful of our existence then our recurrent anxieties become not just a wave we watch pass through our mind, not something to be mastered in order to be a better servant, but a call to action in order to become more fully alive.’
We all have the ability to be mindful. It is within reach. Maybe some of us have forgotten, but we can choose to remember and we can choose to be consciously aware of ourselves and life. Why else would we be here?
t allows a space for us to experience and observe all these dynamics, from a place of curiosity, non-judgment, and compassion. As this ability is strengthened, we can develop greater voluntarily control of our mental processes, be less reactive and more responsible for our feelings, and also work with our body as the physical container for all of these experiences that are happening for and within us.
Conscious, in-the-moment, awareness of...
Mindfulness of Thoughts: As we learn to quiet the mind and the body, to allow spaciousness and ease within us, we can begin to explore and understand the patterns that often drive us, in a much deeper, non-judgmental way. "We can begin to let go and grow less attached to the myriad of distractions around us and within us, leading to a deeper understanding of ourselves, reducing stress, and cultivating a more balanced approach to living."
Experiment with this...
Try to establish the habit of just noticing your thoughts (in the moment.) Try to do so without judgment, not really analyzing or trying to make any conclusion, just observing what you are thinking. Later you can start to label your thoughts (i.e. thinking, judging, comparing, analyzing, predicting, fantasizing, etc.)
Notice when your mind is "time-traveling" (thinking of the past or the future.) Or notice if your mind has a particular set of thoughts it tends to go to.
See if you can bring your mind back to the present moment by simply connecting to your breath and the present moment.
See if you can not identify with all your thoughts. That is, recognizing you are not your thoughts, they are just something your mind does.
Mindfulness of Feeling: Learning to recognize what we are feeling in the moment is another aspect of mindfulness. Being more aware of our feelings can help us comprehend and better understand the nature of our emotional world, our reactions, responses, and tendencies.
Experiment with this...
Try to establish the habit of reflecting and observing how you are feeling during the day- without judgment.
See if you can simply label what you are feeling. Likewise, see if you give it a rating of intensity (0-10.)
Observe if your feelings are also connected to a thought or an experience.
Notice if your feelings are connected to your body, or can be felt in your body, or have a particular sensation for you.
If a feeling is distressing, see if you can breathe into or with it for a bit. Afterward, just notice what you observe within yourself. Whatever comes up is okay.
In other instances of distressing or difficult feelings, see if you can offer compassion to yourself, as a human being having a difficult experience.
Mindfulness of Sensations: Learning to recognize what we are feeling in the moment is another aspect of mindfulness. Being more aware of our feelings can help us comprehend and better understand the nature of our emotional world, our reactions, responses, and tendencies.
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