What is Mindfulness?
If you let go a little, you will have a little peace. If you let go a lot, you will have a lot of peace. If you let go completely, you will have peace.
'Mindfulness is the awareness which emerges when we pay attention on purpose in a particular way!'
Sounds simple, right?
Meditation has been practiced for centuries and formal and informal meditation practices are at the core of Mindfulness.
Formal practice, such as the body scan, movement, sitting and walking are used as 'laboratories' to cultivate this attentional training -
Informal practices, such as 'general life stuff', cleaning your teeth, eating, household chores, driving and cooking, colouring to name just a few, support the formal practices so gradually this new way of 'being' becomes the new way in which we live our lives, which is richer and fuller. They are called practices because they do need to be practiced often and given the right conditions, e.g. time, patience and kindness.
When you practice Mindfulness and add alongside the qualities of kindness, compassion, curiosity and letting go of harsh criticism and judgement this new way of being spills, not only into your own life but into the lives of those who live alongside you also.
Mindfulness was introduced to help people who were suffering in a chronic pain clinic in USA by Jon Kabat Zinn and colleagues around 40 years ago, and they found such great results that it was thought to be beneficial to those suffering emotional pain too, and so the MBSR (Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction) and later the MBCT (Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy) courses began to change the quality of lives.
MBSR and MBCT have been known to help in cases of recurring depression, high blood pressure, child-birth, low mood, anxiety and many, many more advantages are becoming known as time goes on; all of these are backed up by extensive neuroscience tests.
It is known that meditation shifts the activity from the left hemisphere of the brain - our logic, mathematical, list making, analytical side to the right hemisphere - spatial awareness, emotional expression, creativity; thus having the potential to increase feelings of happiness. Practiced over and over, these changes can ultimately change the way our brain responds under stress. WOW
PRACTICE, PRACTICE , PRACTICE is key here and also attempting to let go of goal achieving ... 'let's really practice so we can be happy,' etc .. it's about adopting the kindly discipline to do it without expecting results, and letting go of a 'right or wrong way to meditate' and hey presto you may well get results. After all, I wake early each day to practice to stay mentally fit and well, there must be something going on, hey?
Speaking of which, from a personal perspective I have witnessed the ability to catch a low mood and prevent it from spiralling into depression, higher levels of concentration, better resilience in times of strain, more patience and compassion, particularly in my relationship with my teenage son! My elderly Mum can control her tendency to high blood pressure once she commits to daily practice ...
Go on just give it a try ....
As you sit here now, as best as you can observe the natural flow of breath, right here in this moment, allowing it to be as it is, not forcing it or changing it just notice each in breath and each out breath ....
A very simple Mindful experience is to be had when you press the play button on the home screen ..
There is every reason to try it and no reason not to ..
Find out more about Mindfulness with some Video Links