By Carol (VIP Member of Ease Meditation):
Mindfulness. It’s a word that is used a lot these days, but what does it really mean? The practice of mindfulness has existed for centuries in the form of Buddhism. People who become accustomed to being in tune with what is happening all around them, are being mindful. They are existing in the moment, they are focusing their attention, they are seeing things more clearly.
In my previous blog articles, I talked about how I am changing the way I perceive the world and how I am consciously attempting to create new neural pathways that will help me live without the pain and anxiety that plagued me once. It’s not rocket science, I’m not a genius, I have just begun to train my brain to focus on the positive.
I think most of us, especially in the West, struggle with the contemplative process, we have become so used to instant gratification, to darting from one task to another, to everything being rushed, fast moving – we place lot of value on the speed of our lives. Not doing anything is seen as something negative, a waste of time. Which is why it seems so hard to stop, sit still and meditate for 30 minutes.
The irony is that we all want to live in an ordered, peaceful world without pain and unhappiness and yet we don’t want take the time to equip ourselves to achieve these aims. What would really make us happy is not having a lot of possessions, or social status – it’s just being, and knowing that you are alive, that is when life becomes wonderful. I am saying that it is possible for anyone to do this, given the right tools.
Mindfulness in Action
The foundation of mindfulness is the ability to focus your attention, to control your attention. I can give you some idea of how to do this based on what I have experienced.
When I open my eyes in the mornings I roll onto my back and let my senses wake up. I hear the sound of my partner breathing, the birds in the garden, the rain pattering down, or I see a beam of sunlight through a slit in the drapes. I can smell the coffee brewing downstairs and feel the soft sheets on my skin. Breathing in deeply five or six times, I draw the energy around me into myself every time I inhale. Then, I expel the anxiety and all the negative thoughts with each exhale. All the while, remembering that I am alive and healthy and safe.
I try throughout the day to really focus my attention on every action, as though it is the only thing that exists. Making breakfast, the aromas, the first bite of buttery warm toast, the first delicious cup of tea, the feel of warm water on my skin in the shower, brushing my teeth, the delicious fragrance of the lotion as I massage it into my skin.
Living like this every day, you begin to notice that staying in the moment becomes a habit after a while. Learning to find pleasure in performing a task, appreciating the simplicities of life will change you. In my next blog I will talk more about my experience of living a more mindful life and I will try and give you some simple steps you can take to begin this path.