Mindfulness is a word we come across almost daily now and particularly with regard to mental health.
Research has shown that we can change our brain with our mind and it is evident that living mindfully has a very positive impact on many areas of our lives. Buddhism and other traditions have been using mindfulness as a daily practice for a very long time, but it finally has found a wider recognition in our society in playing a vital part towards our health and well-being.
I have been participating in a 90-day challenge to be grateful and mindful. As I explore the gift of mindfulness in my own life, I have begun to notice that the joy of any experience lies within its presence or absence. We all have our little morning routines. One of mine is to make myself a hot cup of coffee. Naturally, there are many ways I can go about it and experience this.
I have discovered that it is not so much what I do but how I do it. I can, for instance, stumble into the kitchen grab the kettle, fill it and turn it on whilst I run through the list of things I need to do for the day. Whilst I am waiting for the water to boil, I remember an incident from the previous day, a conversation I had. Then I look for the coffee powder, imagining how that person must feel like in their own life. As I get the warm milk, I remember that I need to take my car to the mechanic. The kettle boils and I pour the hot water in the cup. I grab my cup still thinking about the car and start worrying about the problems it may have as I wander back into my bedroom.
Now imagine the second version: I wake and have a good stretch, feeling the warmth and weight of my blanket, taking my time to connect with the sensations in my body. Then I push the blanket off and feel the fresh air on my skin, roll out of my bed gently, placing my feet on the ground, feeling the cool floor beneath them. As I walk into the kitchen, I notice some stiffness in my joints that ease off slowly as I move. I hold the kettle feeling its steel handle. As I put the coffee powder in my cup the smell evaporates into the air and I inhale. As the water boils in the kettle. I am hearing the bubbling sound and the click to switch it off. Then as I pour the hot water, I see the steam rising through the morning light. I grab my cup feeling the weight of it as I walk back into my bedroom.
I am sure you get a sense of what I am trying to say, nothing brings us as much joy if we are not doing it mindfully: aware of our senses and feeling. Now I won’t deny that we need thought processes to think through as we inquire and investigate our lives, but let us not deny that awareness and mindfulness help us find more joy and make change in our lives more easily. Even negative thoughts and feelings, when met with an open, accepting mind dissipate more easily and quickly.
I advocate that you enjoy the simplicity of coming back to your senses and explore mindfulness in your life, little moments at a time. You may stumble and doubt the effectiveness at times but the more you practice the better it gets and you may even find it becomes addictive!
Have done about 30 days of the challenge and I know that the next 60 will be easy.