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What is mindfulness

There are a number of interpretations of the term mindfulness, but I might start by saying what I believe it is not. It is not - going for a walk and being so much in your head and your thoughts, that you totally miss the new buds on the trees, the birds chirping and the amazing different colours of nature popping up everywhere. It is also not - having a shower and getting out and thinking, did I wash my face?? And it’s not - pretending to listen to a person speaking to you, but instead being distracted and thinking about all the things you have to do later on.

These examples may give you more of an idea of what mindfulness actually is. It is being totally present to wherever you are and whatever you are doing without evaluation. It’s giving your full attention and noticing the details, the textures, the experience and not getting sidetracked by your thoughts.

It’s hard! We live so much in our heads! We think about the past, often about an upset or drama that’s happened or thinking about the future, often worrying or having a concern about something that may or may not happen. No wonder we get fatigued and feel overwhelmed, our brains are continually being strained by thinking multiple things, often with little rest. But the good news is we can do something about it.

Eckhart Tolle’s book – Practicing the Power of Now explains,

“When a thought subsides, you experience discontinuity in the mental stream – a gap of “no-mind”. At first, the gaps will be short, a few second perhaps, but gradually they will become longer. When these gaps occur, you feel a certain stillness and peace inside you.”

You may have experienced this when you have been absorbed in a task, such as gardening, painting, knitting or any creative project when you have given it your full attention. It’s relaxing as the mind has a chance to experience a level of stillness. You can experience this stillness by practicing mindfulness with any task you do, for example “when you wash your hands, pay attention to all the sense perceptions associated with the activity: the sound and feel of the water, the movement of your hands, the scent of the soap and so on”, as stated in Eckhart’s book.

One of the most profound quotes I found in Eckhart’s book was –

“Life is now. There was never a time when your life was not now,

nor will there ever be.”

I felt a huge relief when I read this. It has helped me to realise the futility of worrying about something that may or may not happen in the future. I’m not living in the future, I am living in the now. I can’t experience the future in this moment, I can only experience what is happening now. Worrying about the future actually achieves nothing other than making me feel upset and stressed in the present.

When you do live more mindfully and in the present, the stillness of the mind allows your heart and soul to become more connected to spirit and to the wonders of Planet Earth. Meditation is a great tool to assist you to achieve this stillness. With this stillness comes a calmness and peacefulness that allows your life to flow more easily. Life becomes more relaxed, and you are able to be more joyful and full of heart-filled contentment.

Love Sue


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