No doubt you have heard of mindfulness. It has become a wellbeing buzzword, practised by people throughout the world for its amazing effects. But, although so well known, very few people know what mindfulness actually is or where it comes from. Once you know, you realise how simple it is to effectively bring into almost every aspect of your life.
“A mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment while calmly acknowledging one’s feelings, thoughts and bodily sensations.”
The theory and practice behind mindfulness are brought together by the Eightfold Path, an understanding of the ‘right way’ to see and do things that ultimately help us achieve a sense of peace and happiness within our lives.
The belief that nothing is permanent and that we are all in a state of constant change. This is the foundation of the practice with the idea of finding the ‘middle space’. Not too much and not too little.
Think of this as ‘what is your motivation?’ Acknowledging why you are in this practice and what you want without becoming attached to the outcome. Remember, there is constant change.
Developing honest and kind speech patterns as well as the ability to listen carefully to others. This is the practice of not lying to yourself and others.
Meditation in action is the expression of mindfulness. In this instance, the right action is to loosen the grip of aggressive behaviours and actions towards ourselves and others. No harm.
Refraining from engaging in any dishonest or immoral works that negatively affect others. Aligning your livelihood in a way the benefits you and others.
Focusing our efforts on the correct things. Not rushing to the next project and cultivating an interest in what is wholesome on a physical and spiritual level.
To be aware and attentive of the activities of the body, sensation and feelings, thoughts and environment.
This is essentially putting all of the other stages into action within our daily lives and thought processes. Bringing it all into our daily experience of life
Greater insight and clarity resulting in clearer thoughts and better responses.
Better attention span and concentration.
More empathy and compassion towards ourselves and others.
Increased sense of acceptance and happiness within our day to day lives!
A new found appreciation for the smaller things in life!
Exactly where you are right now reading this, look up and notice where you are. Look to the furthest things you can see and then the closest becoming really aware of it all. Try not to get attached to any negative things in that field of view, such as things that need clearing or cleaning etc.
Just notice them.
Close your eyes and now visualise just one thing within that space. Focus on it in your thoughts. Notice its colours, textures and also what feelings it creates within you. Then, take a deep breath in and softly sigh the breath away letting it carry that thought, visualisation and feelings away with it.
Try doing this with other things. As you take a sip of your morning coffee or tea, close your eyes and become acutely aware of every layer of the experience. Then, let all of those thoughts and feelings go with a breath out and move on to something else.
In time, this simple practice can become so ingrained into everything that we do that we discover a newfound appreciation for even the smallest pleasures in life. In that pleasure of the smallest things, is a new sense and level of happiness.