Mindfulness is a state of being fully
focussed in the present moment in a relaxed and peaceful state, where
you are able to watch and observe all that is going on. It's a state
our intuition or Higher Self is able to come through because we are
both receptive and yet ready to act.
It is not a fully receptive
state like say meditation, for we are aware, looking around or
carrying out a task. Yet we are in a pleasant state free of tension or
anxiety in that we simply are. We're not dwelling on the past or future
but are fully present.
Mindfulness is an easy state to slip into with many benefits
to us. This is not a complex process like say
meditation - which is slightly more involved. We achieve it whilst awake,
fully conscious, and even while busy in movement, conversation or other activities.
Essentially, we focus our attention fully on all we do and we keep our mind trained
on this now moment, without letting it drift away on thoughts
elsewhere. It's the time when we aren't daydreaming or stressing, or are
a million miles away.
We can set a time period for ourself each day to be mindful,
whether we choose walking, in the shower, going for a run or even
washing the dishes.
Choose a time period like 10 minutes, which you may then increase as
you improve. Get mindful and watch what you
are thinking. Let go most thoughts that are of other things but allow
yourself to focus on right now. Keep your mind on your feelings but
outward on what is around you. Stay actively focussed. If your mind
starts to drift inwards to memories or worries, just bring it back
gently, dismissing the
thoughts you had that were not involved with this moment.
Any exercises in mindfulness are relatively easy, for we simply train
our mind on what we are doing and pay full attention. One such exercise
may be eating a meal when you are alone. Turn off the TV and shut that
book, now pay attention at your meal. Start eating and relax, simply focus on
the tastes and the sensations of eating. Your mind will probably want
to wander off onto a million things but bring it back to the food. Is
some music playing? Can you hear noises outside, like birds. Is the
food warm or hot? Take a sip of your drink - how does that make you
feel? Settle back further and simply notice how you chew, for how long,
and what speed are you eating; have you now slowed down a bit, perhaps savoring the tastes?
Another exercise may be walking. Take a nice stroll outside perhaps
around the block. Don't use this time to plan or daydream, instead
train your mind to stay on exactly what you are doing. Notice your
gait, notice any other people around you. You may look at nature, or
notice the arcitecture of the homes around you, the sky, any animals
around you. Keep your thoughts trained on this and you are practicing
mindfulness. See if you can keep it going until you reach home once
The Benefits Of Mindfulness
We are so much more relaxed when focussed on right now and what we're
doing in the present moment. Our bodies relax and our breathing slows
down. It's difficult to remain stressed when taking long, slow
breaths. It's a peaceful and calm state that opens us up to new
thoughts. Have you ever noticed that some problems can be solved
immediately once we slow right down, relax and move our mind elsewhere.
Once we stop stressing, suddenly we can see things differently, see new
angles and get a whole new vantage point.
Studies have shown that mindfulness may reduce depression and also insomnia, and can even help
relationships, for your attention on your partner is a more mindful,
even forgiving manner. It can increase empathy and compassion, which
should come as no surprise since the Buddhists use mindfulness as a way
of life, to stay in the present moment. It can increase analytical thinking and
even improve health. Most importantly, it can increase happiness, calmness whilst decreasing irritability or bad humour.
Mindfulness is such an easy practice to cultivate, but we must be
mindful in order to follow it. Once we remember to incorporate it into
our lives, expect to simply feel happier and more content. What could
Mindfulness Around Others
I practice mindfulness (being Buddhist) and it allows me to be
the best company when around others. It's a bit like being switched on
and yet very relaxed. The feeling is like flowing with others around
you. I will flow with what others want to talk about and tend to become
very flexible, yet I join in as well. I may also direct the
conversation if I feel that is positive to the flow. It is a watchful
state wherein you're completely engrossed in others; like their facial
expressions, what they may be thinking if I pick up on that, and what
they are saying. I tend to become more non-judgmental in this mindful
state and go with what is presented to me. If another person is
unpleasant, it jars my own state and I will retreat away and go to find
more pleasant conversation. It brings out the best in us and our nature.
Mindfulness is a handy way to be around others because you notice more
about other people. You are also more able to help people because you
yourself become neutral or non-judgmental. Because you are more receptive in this state,
you can bring through helpful advice from your own Higher Self. You may
also sense a lot with intuition and be able to help others from this
knowing. Mindfulness is usually something I switch on when around other people as it helps me stay intuitive and aware.
Mindfulness & Oneness
Mindfulness is like a wide-awake meditation, so if you normally give
meditation a miss, you can still practice it using mindfulness during
the day. Sometimes we are taken off course by the worries or
issues in our lives. But as soon as you are able, close your eyes for a moment and
switch back to here and now and slow your breathing. You can feel the stress sloughing off you as you gaze at right now.
It's possible to experience a greater sense of Oneness through
mindfulness, referring to the spiritual state of Oneness
(hence why Buddhists use it). This is no mystical state but a normal
and calm sense of being one with everything. You may feel yourself
expand as a sense of peace overcomes you and you wonder why you were
feeling so bad just a moment ago. If you hold mindfulness, you may
begin to feel very connected to everything around you, as though you
weren't really separate from any of it.
This feeling of oneness can lead to even deeper spiritual states. You
may experience oneness during meditation and as you practice
mindfulness in normal life, and you may hold that feeling for longer
periods. At some point we return to normal consciousness, but it sure
does feel nice and relaxing to experience oneness or peace all around
us whenever we can.
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