Have you ever felt like going through life following the motions, doing what you were supposed –or expected- to do, like an automated machine living outside or away of your true self?
I believe we all have felt this way to one degree or another. We suddenly become briefly aware of this every time we state things such as… “Where did time go?”… only to go back to our ingrained habits and usual routines short after this realization. This temporary awareness places us briefly in the present time, a momentary awakening that can be identified as a moment of mindfulness.
But before we delve deeper into exploring mindfulness, and just in case you are wondering why mindfulness should be adopted as a regular practice, just know for now that the practice of mindfulness is vital to live a well balanced and happy life.
Moreover, mindfulness is essential to practice meditation, and as we already know, meditation offers enormous benefits to our mental, emotional, and physical health. With that in mind, let’s continue…
The term mindfulness has its roots in Buddhism; however, it is not related to any particular faith but to the ideal state of the human being. Mindfulness refers to the constancy of mind in the present moment. When you think of it, the present moment is all we truly have. The past is gone. The future is not here yet, and once it arrives, it becomes the present moment yet again.
Still, living in the present moment can prove quite a challenge for most of us living on today’s fast paced world. We tend to go through life dragging our past, and thinking of –or planning- a better future, usually dismissing the precious “now”…
In fact, our ideal state as human beings is living in the present moment while keeping a balanced and healthy perspective between the now and future events. Buddhists call it “recollection” and it is used as a point of reference to return to focus every time the mind wanders away. This is one of the greatest challenges of the human mind. Have you thought about the fact that animals don’t experience anything else than the present moment?
A simple way to practice mindfulness is by watching one’s breath. When you focus on your breath you place your mind in the present time by paying attention to the air you breathe going in and out of your chest cavity. And while you maintain your attention on this function as your main objective, you must also remember to return back to focus when your mind wanders away.
In this manner, mindfulness means being aware of the present moment intentionally, and on a moment to moment basis while remembering what to do in the near future when/if your mind wanders away.
You can start doing this by committing to becoming aware of your self for a few seconds every time you see, hear, feel, taste, smell or do something that you have previously set your mind to.
For instance, every time you smell your morning coffee or hear a bird chirping or see a yellow car or whatever, you become centered in your present state for a few seconds.
And… how do you bring your attention to the present moment? -You may be wondering.
As stated above, an easy way to become aware of your present moment is by consciously observing your breath. Going with one of the examples mentioned, every time you hear a bird chirping, you take a few seconds to center yourself and observe your breathing.
When doing this, be aware of the fact that you are being conscious of your body’s breathing function, and you are noticing this with your mind while you keep engaged with your outer world. In this manner, you become fully aware of your being in and out at the same time. In other words, you acknowledge you’re inside your body as well as a part of the whole that surrounds you.
When you do this several times a day, you are actually training your mind to be in a state of mindfulness regularly. As you are able to hold these moments for longer periods of time, meditation will eventually become easier and you will be able to extend and sustain your meditative states.
Once you experience mindful moments habitually, you will start reaping the benefits of a more complete existence with less stress, more inner peace and more happiness.
Think about this… What if you could profoundly change your life just by becoming more mindful of your breathing? What if paying attention on purpose and non-judgmentally could help you improve your health?
On Mindfulness for Beginners, Dr. Kabat-Zinn, internationally known scientist, best-selling author, and teacher who brought mindfulness meditation into the mainstream of medicine and society gives you immediate access to a practice that can potentially add years to your life, and will certainly enhance the quality of your moments and your years.
- Explore five guided meditations that lead you breath by breath into the essence of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), a program offered in medical clinics and hospitals around the world.
- Cultivate the Seven Key Attitudinal Factors of MBSR—qualities of heart and mind that lay the foundation for mindfulness practice and for seeing and accepting things as they are as a first step to working wisely and compassionately with stress, pain, illness, and sorrow as well as life’s joys and pleasures—Zorba’s “full catastrophe”
- Free yourself from limiting perspectives, and become more intimate with your own boundless awareness.
Learn more about this fabulous audio program, hear a sample, and prepare to be enlightened to rip the benefits of living in a mindful state, by clicking on the image above.
which is always available…”
~ Jon Kabat-Zinn
May You Master Mindfulness…