Mindfulness isn’t a complicated theory or a deep spiritual practice reserved for Buddhists or mystics. Practicing mindfulness is very simple and accessible to us all. All we need to practice mindfulness is our body, an open mind, patience, and commitment!
Defined in a few words, mindfulness is paying attention to where we are, how we are, what we are feeling and what we are thinking, in the present moment. It is about being aware of our experience as it unfolds. Its practice helps us learn to explore our own life, such as our thoughts and emotions, as well as life in the world around us.
Do you ever feel like you spend a lot of time lost in thought worrying about the past, planning for the future, criticising yourself, judging and assessing situations ? Do you sometimes not even realise that you are doing it? Mindfulness is understanding that we have the choice to accept and let go of these distractions. Instead, we can learn to immerse ourselves in life, moment by moment. We just need to learn to pay a little more attention. In our modern world full of so many distractions and information, this is very challenging!
To truly understand what mindfulness means, we need to put it into practice. An important word to remember when practicing mindfulness is the word ‘NOTICE’.
Just keep noticing openly, without trying to change anything, without judgement, without expectation, as often as possible. Notice what you are thinking. Notice what you are feeling. Notice what your body feels like. Notice where you are. Notice what you can see, hear, smell touch or taste. Just notice without seeking to change anything.
If you are new to mindfulness, be kind and patient with yourself in your exploration of it. It is an enjoyable journey of continuous discovery but like all new skills, it requires time and practice!