Finding ways to practise mindfulness that fit in with your life is essentially Mindfulness is essentially the quality of being fully present, the ability to ‘be here now’, and fully engaged with whatever you are doing in any particular moment. A key element in mindfulness is how we are present in this way – we learn through mindfulness to direct our attention to what is happening right here right now, with an attitude of kindness towards ourselves and our experience.
As we learn ways to practice mindfulness we learn to notice and to turn down the volume of the inner critic and the judging mind and to become aware of our thoughts and feelings without getting caught up in them. We train in this moment-to-moment awareness through formal mindfulness meditation, and informal mindfulness practises.
This evidence based ‘brain training’ allows us then to build the skill of mindfulness so that we can then apply it to everyday life. This “being with” ourselves is in contrast with more habitual states of mind in which we are often preoccupied with memories, fantasies, worries or planning. Although we are often unaware of the current of our thinking, it has a profound effect on how we live our lives, as well on our mental and emotional health.
This learning to be present is a superpower which will help us to respond more wisely rather than react when faced with stressful situations.Being mindful is living with moment-by-moment awareness of thoughts, feelings and sensations. Learning various ways to practise mindfulness shows us how is to allow thoughts, feelings and sensations to come and go, without judgement or the need to do anything with them.
Practising Mindfulness is essentially about noticing, observing gently and without judgment whatever is happening in thoughts, emotions and physical sensations in any given moment. It involves a gentle acceptance of whatever comes into your awareness in the moment. It’s not so much about reaching an end goal, but rather it is about exploring your own inner world – noting over time various ‘ habit energies’ that that drive you, motivate you, get in your way, or keep you stuck.
As you deepen the practise you begin to see how your thoughts, feelings or sensations influence each both other, and the way you respond to and engage on the world around you.
Research has shown that mindfulness can change the physiology of the body and brain in ways that strengthen, heal and protect. There are so many benefits that stream from mindfulness, all proven through research.
You do not need to buy anything, wear any particular clothes or believe in anything in particular to benefit from evidence based ways to practise Mindfulness.
All you need is to devote a little time and space to practising your mindfulness skills every day.
Being a human means our minds are busy and as we learn ways to practise Mindfulness it is important to understand that there is no way to quieten or empty your mind of thoughts.
As you begin to practise mindfulness All you’re trying to do is to notice non judgementally and with great kindness whatever is happening in your internal world moment by moment. You are learning to become a kind observer of your moment by moment experience
Then as you practise you will notice the inner critic coming to centre stage. This is closely related to the last point and it is key if we are to learn to live more mindfully. We all have an inner critic and a judgemental mind. It is human nature to habitually listen to the critic in our heads more than we should.
In practising mindfulness we learn to notice judgments arise, make a mental note of them (some people label them “thinking”), and let them pass, recognizing the sensations they might leave in your body, and letting those pass as well. This gives us much greater freedom and choice in how we respond to challenging situations.
So mindfulness is quite simple –be here now – but also very challenging for us humans in two ways in particular. Firstly we need to remember to do it and then we need to train our minds the harsh judgmental attitude and away from the inner critic, towards impartial observation of whatever is happening in the moment. Mindfulness is actually a discipline. Firstly It requires a decision to do something and secondly an understanding that as humans we need period of time – say a month – to develop a new habit.
Below are some suggestions to get you started –a formal practise and a range of informal ways to begin to bring mindfulness into your everyday life.
You might commit to this five days a week for four weeks to begin to build your mindfulness muscle.
1. Eat mindfully.
When you eat, eat. When you drink, drink.
See if even initially for a small part of a meal you might stop doing other things ( watching a screen for instance , or planning what is next, or maybe flicking through a newspaper) and just focus on the food, Notice colour, texture, taste, smell…..even for a moment.
2. Walk mindfully.
‘Walk as if you are kissing the earth with your feet.’
When walking see if even for a couple of moments you might pay attention to the movement of your body and your surroundings.
Then Notice as your feet connect with and leave the ground. Feel your muscles moving and supporting you. Notice something in nature – colour , smell, shape…
3. Observe your breathing.
‘A single breath in and out is a meditation’ Eckhart Tolle’
Your breathing occurs naturally and rhythmically. Instantly as you pay attention to it, it takes you out of your mind and into your body.
You momentarily free yourself from your churning thoughts, worries and fears. Try it even for four breaths.
4. Connect with your senses.
Notice your five senses – just for one moment – What can you see, hear, touch, smell, taste – right here right now just in this moment?
5. Pause between action.
Pause and listen to the sound of the phone ringing before answering it.
Slowly feel the weight of your body in your chair before beginning your work for the day.
Take time to feel the key before putting it in your hall door handle at the end of the day.
Putting mini pauses between actions in your day can ground you in your inner being, clear your mind, and provide you with fresh energy for the new task ahead.
6.Wash the dishes
Feel the warm soapy water on your hands, notice the surface and shape of each thing you wash, and dry.
Make yourself a drink and if possible sit outside to read this poen through a few times.
by Martha Postlethwaite
Do not try to save
the whole world
or do anything grandiose.
in the dense forest
of your life
and wait there
until the song
that is your life
falls into your own cupped hands
and you recognize and greet it.
Only then will you know
how to give yourself
to this world
so worth of rescue.
Take some time to ponder these two questions:
During the session, I listen as you share. I may occasionally question, challenge, or support you as appropriate. Ultimately, you will own whatever insights are uncovered, as well as whatever action you might take. We end the session with a short meditation, thanking Wisdom for the sacred space and the support, and asking for continued guidance and blessings in your life.