How to Achieve Mindfulness
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Much is talked about Mindfulness.
Being Mindful. Doing things mindfully.
Do you know what it means? How it actually feels?
Even if you have made some space in your life to practice mindfulness, how do you know if you have achieved it?
Ekcart Tolle describes the state of presence as “awareness without thought.”
This is about existing actually in the now rather than through the filter of our thoughts about it.
It helps to think of our thoughts as a string of words whereas our immediate sensory observations have no words attached to them at first.
We can experience the present moment as a sensory event. This means that we can have awareness of what we see, hear, smell, feel and taste. Along with this sensory information comes inevitable thought.
I can see and feel the texture of a cushion without needing to:
Label it “cushion”
tell myself what colour it is
comment to myself about how firm it is
ask myself who put it there and why
wonder if husband put it there
ask myself who owns it
comment to myself that I would have preferred it in another colour
wonder whether the pizza I put in the oven is ready…………………….….you get the idea!
There are many useful practical applications of mindfulness techniques:
Breaking bad habits – eating when not fully present can lead to overconsumption.
Sleep – when fully present, the mind cannot torture us with thoughts of past or future events and sleep habits improve.
Stress – when fully present we are only required to address any issue that is in the now so the mind cannot ruminate about numbers of problems.
Processing any event, however traumatic – situations which have created certain emotions can be broken down in the present moment by “sitting with” those emotions and allowing them to shift rather than pushing them away.
Addressing pain – pain in the present moment requires either action or surrender. Accepting that these are the only choices helps us to process it.
Reframing – observing and recognising when our thought patterns in the present are negative allows us to choose whether or not to reframe them.
Being comfortable in solitude – we are all facing a degree of isolation at present, mindfulness allows us to explore the serenity of silence brought about by freedom from the internal noise of our own thoughts.
Facing uncertainty – again the two choices in the present are action or surrender, appreciating this allows us to choose which and achieve peace.
Most people can only maintain a mindful state for about thirty seconds!
But that’s OK. We are all a work in progress! Just keep bringing yourself back to the present moment.
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