Unconscious Mindfulness, is that you? Yep more than likely; just like 98% of the rest of the population (OK I made that figure up, but it’s lots of people!). You are doing it, but you don’t know that you are!
So you talk about being Mindful?
Well, don’t you? There are so many times I smile when I hear peeps say they would love to learn to be more mindful or come to class to meditate, but they just don’t have time/space/know how to do it. Why do I smile? because they are probably more mindful and meditate far more than they realise but it’s all done at an unconscious level trucking along inside the brain.
Let’s look at it – this word Mindfulness
Has there really been a significant resurgence of ‘Mindfulness’ over the last few years? Well not really it’s been around since the 1970’s when Jon Kabat-Zinn presented key attitudes and practices to students to de-stress and just be in the moment.
It’s now become a bit of a buzzword and has made its way into the mainstream of everyday living over the last few years with lots of publicity. It’s not new, and it’s not rocket science; however, the marketing and media tribes would like you to believe it’s the best thing since burnt toast and worth paying mega bucks for…well no shit! They love making money.
So, what is it – Mindfulness?
Having taught Meditation and Mindfulness since the late 1980’s I often get asked to try to describe mindfulness in everyday life, I explained it like this, “ Imagine you are in a cafe, your thoughts racing through the details of the tasks of the day, and you look up from your drink and noticed a piece of art on the wall and get absorbed by it; you sit in an open space and just notice or feel the wind in the trees; you listen to a piece of music; you cook a meal without multi-tasking; you become absorbed reading, walking, dancing.” That’s Mindfulness – being in that one moment with one task.
We used to call ‘Being in the moment’ in the old days
Whatever it was you did, it interrupted those mad monkeys in your brain, and you were living that moment of your life far more fully, that’s mindfulness just being in that moment with your focused thoughts, movements and feeling the connections. It doesn’t have to be prescribed.
Getting into practice
Believing that mindfulness or meditation practice needs to be formal and organised is rather constricting for me and reminds me of how religion is structured you may feel different. Mind you, research does show that classes can help you keep your focus to start with and being part of a group builds your resilience and feeling of belonging and wanting to achieve. A class can enable you to determine when you are mindful recognising when you are doing it and when you wander off and how to learn to bring yourself back to what you are doing/thinking/feeling.
Gill Hasson in her book defines Mindfulness as:
“…….. a way of living your life so that you are in the present moment more often. It involves bringing your awareness back from the future or the past and into the present moment. You are not trying to get to a better place or to become a better person – you are already there.”
I also like the idea that ‘Mindfulness is the ultimate mobile device; you can use it anywhere, anytime, unobtrusively.’
Your Mindful Activites are?
What activities could you identify that you already do mindfully (not multitasking), I bet there are loads….make a quick list, bet you will find several like;
- getting dressed in the morning
- cleaning your teeth
- eating breakfast
- Washing the car
Just remember just one task at a time!!!! Keep practicing. If you want a bit of guided practice here’s a fab FREE site you can download and track your progress…. STOP BREATHE THINK
Become aware of your thoughts and if you find yourself on AUTOPILOT then just bring yourself back to being mindful. Learn to let go of that tangled ‘brain-spam’ that come bounding in by acknowledging it but then letting it go…..if it is important to jot it down and go back to it at the right time.
Just observe what your senses and emotions are telling you – listen to what’s going on around you, what and how you are feeling at each given moment – so staying in the now and not living in the past or pursuing the future. (You can plan for the future but don’t live it until you get there)
Learn to appreciate each moment you have.
Until next time