What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness is way of paying attention, on purpose and without judgment, to what goes on in the present moment in your body, mind and your outside environment. It involves intentionally stepping out of ‘automatic pilot’ to be present, aware and responsive.
Think of the last time you took a drive to somewhere familiar to you and wondered how you made it there and couldn’t recall the journey – that is a classic example of auto-pilot!
Research shows that we are on auto Pilot for 47% of our time? Thats nearly half of our lives!
On autopilot we can tend to get so lost in ‘doing’ finding ourselves constantly striving and struggling and ‘getting stuff done’ instead of really living. We become human ‘doings’ rather than human ‘beings’. We can become mindlessness and often lost in thought.
We can often be so busy in our heads with our attention absorbed in our wandering minds that we completely miss the ‘moment’ we are in…..the present moment.
The mind has a tendency to get lost in the future or the past; it’s just the way that it is. Mindfulness is a way of teaching ourselves to live more in the moment that we are in, to be present with whatever it is that we are experiencing. Mindfulness is a regular practice that eventually becomes a way of life – one that can bring a great deal of peace. It can help us to see clearly what is going on in our lives. Regardless of external stresses, we can learn to respond in a calm and relaxed manner, stepping away from old behaviours that can often be debilitating. These can often be unconscious, emotional and physiological reactions to everyday events. When we become aware of these patterns we can begin to observe rather than react.
Mindfulness offers us an alternative way. It offers us a way of waking up from being in auto pilot and teaches us to live in the moment – to show up for our precious lives.
“Nothing is more precious than being in the present moment. Fully aware, Fully alive” Thich Nhat Hanh
Mindfulness will not eliminate life’s trials and tribulations, but it can help us respond to them in a relaxed manner that benefits our head, heart and body.
Mindfulness has been demonstrated to effectively help us live with less stress, fear, and anxiety and to cultivate more ease, connection, and well being in our lives. There is also considerable scientific evidence that meditation practice enhances activity in the brain associated with creativity and happiness, and reduces activity in areas of the brain associated with pain. And there is tremendous anecdotal evidence that mindfulness can lead to a reduction in perceived levels of stress, physical problems and chronic pain.
“You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf” Jon Kabat-Zinn