Welcome to day three of a week of mindfulness, where we will get a bit more into the nitty-gritty of some of the different ways you can integrate mindfulness into your life.. If you missed Monday and Tuesday’s segments, don’t worry you can just click on the links below for a catch up.
The beauty of mindfulness is that the opportunity to practice it exists everywhere and at any time.
- Every time you see rolling hills, a beautiful sunset or a wilting flower.
- Every time you smell freshly baked buns, the scent of a flower, even the smell of manure from the farmer’s fields.
- Every time you feel the temperature on your skin, the touch of a friend or even physical pain.
- Every time you experience any kind of thought or feeling.
Mindfulness allows us to make a conscious shift during different points of the day to interact with the world and ourselves in a more awakened way.
I personally have had an on-off relationship with mindfulness over many years. Like many, for a great deal of my life these ideas and concepts were quite alien. Even though I started teaching mindfulness 13 years ago, it has really only been over the last year or so that it has become such an integral part of who I am. On reflection I really think the shift occurred when I made a decision to make a conscious effort to continuously bring myself back to the moment, without judgement, at random moments throughout the day.
Mindfulness can be practised in this more informal way as well as formally, by setting aside time every day to do a structured mindfulness meditation. Even though I have yet to be completely consistent in my formal meditation practice, I do believe it has been revisiting guided mindfulness meditations over and over again that has cultivated my ability to live increasingly present in my everyday experience, good, bad or indifferent.
Here are a few of the different types of mindfulness practice:
Breathing meditation – this involves focusing on the breath as it is, not trying to change it but to connect with the sensations of the breath as they go through your body.
Body scan – the body scan meditation brings you through each and every part of your body starting from the bottom of your feet to the top of your head. It guides you through an observation of the various sensations felt that each different section of your body.
Mindful movement – mindful movement meditation guide you through some slow, purposeful and gentle movements, helping you to really experience what it is like to move certain parts of your body and get in touch with your body’s abilities and limitations through staying with the many sensations bodily experienced.
Sounds and thoughts – during this you are encouraged to become more aware of the many signs, big or small, loud or quiet, in your environment. It also helps you to start to become more observant of your thoughts, being with them but also been able to let them go.
Befriending difficult thoughts/ feelings – this practice allows you to look inside and stay with whatever thoughts, feelings and sensations you might be experiencing and encourages you to connect and really being with some of the more difficult things you may be experiencing.
If you are new to mindfulness this may all seem quite overwhelming and a lot of to process. As with anything it takes time to digest information and make sense of what you are learning. Remember, where ever you are that is okay, or as Jon Kabat-Zinn says:
‘wherever you go, there you are’.
One of the most important things to remember is that mindfulness is not about being someone different from who you are, or changing your experience in the moment, rather it is simply about allowing that moment to be as it is. Whatever changes may or may not occur will come and go.
The reason it is referred to as mindfulness practice is because it does take practice. However, there is no rush. It is about you dipping into the moment whenever and wherever you can, perhaps playing around with some formal meditation practices, and just seeing how it feels.
Tomorrow I am going to share something I have written that is a little bit more personal.
I was feeling very thankful about having mindfulness in my life one day and decided to write a heartfelt letter thanking mindfulness for saving my life.
Just in this moment be whoever, whatever and wherever you are.