It is very much a buzzword these days. You find your mind to be FULL…FULL…FULL… and then you go and find a mindfulness practice and give yourself something else to do. Have you taken part in a course? Did it feel great at the time under the instruction of the teacher? Did you continue it for a short while afterwards, enjoying various benefits along with a sense of calming? Before long did you grow tired of it and let the practice slip away? Do you now often think guilty thoughts like; I must get back into a mindfulness practice yet in truth you just never quite get round to it, can’t be bothered or does that voice in your head tell you that you have more important things to be doing?
The Cambridge English Dictionary describes mindfulness as; ‘the practice of being aware of your body, mind and feelings in the present moment, thought to create a feeling of calm. Mindfulness can be used to alleviate feelings of anxiety and depression,’ it suggests. Is mindfulness necessary as a practice separate from just being naturally at home in and as oneself, I wonder?
Patrizia Collard* in her book The Little book of Mindfulness has adapted ten ‘awesome’ tips for beginners. These are shown on the right.
The ten reasonably clear and simple points relate to beginning the practice of mindfulness – thank you Patrizia. I do not subscribe to mindfulness as a practice, nor do I necessarily advocate it. Of course it does have its uses, in particular in life do you find yourself at the mercy of your thoughts, mind and emotions? If they bring you repeated anxiety, then the practice of mindfulness will bring you some relief.
Of mindfulness I will say that as an entry point it can lead to realisation of the freedom and ultimate transcendent state that great masters of yoga, Zen and Taoism have always alluded to. There also is an inherent trap in ‘your practice’ of mindfulness. For now, if you are keen, do some research, develop your practice and I will follow up on this in the next edition of Juiced! magazine.
Om shanti, shanti, shanti (peace, peace, peace).
Start Your Mindfulness Practice…
- Develop concentration: focus mind upon the breath.
- Sit focusing upon the breath for 10-15 minutes daily. Occasionally stop what you are doing and concentrate on breathing for a minute. After two weeks, add in mindful eating and walking to your practice.
- Practise sitting meditation; mindful breathing in a quiet distraction-free zone.
- Refrain from being judgemental about performance.
- Prioritise the practice of mindfulness and be willing to move away from old thought habits.
- Slow it down. Develop the knack of slowing down. Know that when you are not rushing, you will find many opportunities to be mindful.
- Be patient, mindfulness takes time.
- Let go. Be willing to not think of all those things you have to do for ten minutes. Let go of distractions.
- ‘Have fun,’ Patrizia suggests. Soon you may find you enjoy such peace in this, you may wish to sit forever.
- Do not accept the excuses you give yourself as to why mindfulness is not for you. The more unable to be still or quiet you are, the more you need mindfulness.