To learn to become more mindful, we can begin by practising what we call focussed mindfulness. This is as simple as formally paying attention to the sounds around about us, to our breath, our body; whatever we choose to focus upon with our attention, while at the same time, we remain like a non-judgemental observer, free of judgement, free of internal commentary.
There is a natural peace in simply being mindful. We practise and begin to appreciate this. With our minds open, curious, aware; we notice whatever it is that we have chosen to focus upon. No need to force anything, or deny anything. Open. Aware. Free of judgement. Mindful. So easy.
Of course, when we aim to be mindful, our mind can wander; we can become distracted or simply “space out”. Again, we benefit from noticing this. Whenever necessary, we bring our mind back to the focus of our mindfulness.
Remember too the benefits of relaxation. Everything is easier in a relaxed body. So as we practise mindfulness, we will benefit from consciously relaxing our bodies.
Open mindfulness is the next step. This is as simple as being fully aware of whatever comes into our awareness at this particular moment. And this particular moment. And this... and this... and so on.
No more, no less. Rather than choosing to focus on something in particular as we do with focussed mindfulness, now we simply notice whatever it is that comes to our attention. This is open mindfulness.
Experiment with open mindfulness in the course of your normal day. To begin with, it may help to notice when you are being mindless! This is when you are doing something and your mind is elsewhere; dwelling on the past or fantasising about the future. Know this to be normal. Know this is why we train to be more mindful. Smile, be gentle with yourself and come back to this present moment. Pay attention; give your full attention to whatever it is that you are doing.
Notice too, that there is no stress in the present moment. No anxiety either. For stress or anxiety you need to think about, and be affected by, the past or the future. In the present there is only peace.
As we practise and learn to be more mindful, we learn to give more attention to the present moment. Of course, memories from the past are still useful, and planning for the future makes good sense. But now we do not dwell on them. We remember the past with an increasing fondness. We do all we can towards an ideal future, and we learn to combine this with going with the flow.
The formal practice of mindfulness translates directly into daily life. The more we learn to give our full attention to what ever or who ever we are engaged with, the better everything flows. This is why mindfulness is such a good practice to learn and develop in formal sessions, and then to take with you into daily life.
Of course, mindfulness is one of the four key steps that lead into meditation. Remember this? Preparation, Relaxation, Mindfulness, Stillness:
Being well prepared to begin meditation we naturally feel more relaxed. As we become more relaxed, we become more aware. We become more mindful. Mindfulness naturally leads into the deeper stillness of meditation.
So many good reasons to develop mindfulness.
1. I am currently updating "You Can Conquer Cancer". If anyone has any comments or suggestions, I would love to hear from you via firstname.lastname@example.org.
2. Two weeks to the Melbourne weekend workshops, where for the first time in years I will spend one full day focussing on nutrition and eating well. It will be a pleasure to present what I believe and why I believe in when it comes to food. The day will be fun and the food can be easy and delicious! Should be good for anyone interested in healthy and healing food - whether for the average person, family or for those with specific needs for healing.
1. Go with the flow or intervene
2. Meditation in four easy steps
1. BOOKS: Meditation an In-depth Guide; Ian Gawler and Paul Bedson
The Miracle of Mindfulness; Thich Nhat Hahn
2. CDs: Meditation - a complete guide; Ian Gawler
Deepening your meditation; Ian Gawler, complete with the amazing backing of world renowned didgeridoo player, Marshall Whyler.
3. PROGRAMS and the Melbourne Workshops: The Gawler Foundation