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Practicing Mindfulness

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 where 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.

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Exercising Mindfulness

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 also 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 more.

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 be better?

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 another 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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