How do we cultivate an attitude of mindfulness in our daily lives?
Mindfulness is paying attention to your surroundings with a curiosity and inquisitiveness…what do you notice about what is around you, the people, the streets, the shrubs, the trees, the flowers…the air we breathe…by using all of our senses…let the sights, sounds, smells, and sense of touch come alive…notice as well some of the emotions you are experiencing…like happiness, anger or guilt that may arise in a particular surrounding…notice without judgement…without worrying if it is right or wrong.
Mindfulness is paying attention to the food you consume with gratitude and appreciation…its freshness, texture, consistency, aroma etc how it makes you feel as you chew your food slowly…what are the sensations created…what are some of the associations you are making…does it bring back memories? What are some emotions attached to it? Where does your food come from? How was your food produced? Who were the people behind the scenes? Were ethical standards met?
Mindfulness is paying attention to your mind…does it wander off when you least want it to…are you aware that it has wandered off…how long does it take before you realise that your mind has walked away from what you were doing presently? Where does your mind sneak off to unawares? Do you see where it dwells and what happens thereafter?
Mindfulness is paying attention to your breath…are you aware of your breath? Are you aware that you are breathing? When you breathe what do you notice about your body? Do you feel your breath in your chest, in your diaphragm, your abdomen…? Do you breathe in and out from your nose or from your mouth? Do you breathe in through your nose and breathe out through your mouth? What does your breath look like when it is anxious…when it is happy…excited or depressed? Is your breathing shallow or deep?
Mindfulness is paying attention to your body…When you stand do you feel the four corners of the soles of your feet kissing the ground? Does it make you feel grounded and stable? Are your hands clenched or relaxed? Are your arms resting lightly by the side of your body? Do you feel tightness in some parts of your body? Are you able to locate the places in your body that cause tension? For e.g. is your eye brow centre furrowed? Do you feel tension at your eye brow centre?
Mindfulness is paying attention to your relationships…with loving kindness…to the universe, to nature and to each other…listening to words spoken and unspoken, listening to nature…listening with not only your head but with your heart, and seeking first to understand…
What is not mindfulness?
It is not about relaxation though you may feel more relaxed and less tense and stressed.
It is not about emptying your brain.
It is not about stopping your thoughts…your thoughts will always be there but acknowledge with loving kindness that it does flit like a butterfly at times but be aware whenever it does.
MINDFULNESS IS A STATE OF BEING…IT IS ABOUT BEING FULLY ALIVE…SLOWING DOWN AND PAYING ATTENTION IN AN INTENTIONAL PURPOSEFUL WAY…WITHOUT JUDGEMENT.