You’re in line checking out at the grocery store, and you hear the ladies in front of you talking about a mindfulness class they just attended. They mention how they feel like they shifted into a happier more productive place. You may begin to wonder, “What exactly is mindfulness?”
Mindfulness, at its core, is about focusing one’s attention in a deliberate way inwardly. It’s about learning who we are and our place in today’s world. It’s all about awareness and staying present in the moment curiously and nonjudgmentally. It gives us the ability to live our lives with a sense of clarity of purpose and presence, thus creating a life of greater satisfaction, balance, and well-being.
Mindfulness is about insight, having the ability to focus on the present moment experience, and be fully present for the body, mind, and spirit. It’s about cultivating the quality of presence to help you to shift from being reactive and identified with things in life to a place of equanimity. Mindfulness allows you to let go of the past and future and be present here in the moment.
Our essence as a human is be-ing. It’s about creating a life of being instead of doing. We become the witness in life, just watching this moment with no judgment or wanting to change it at all. Perhaps with a sense of curiosity and awareness. Watching life like a movie and noticing this moment; What do you see? What are you feeling? What do you hear?
When we can practice Mindfulness, and silence the mind and become introspective, we can sense deep within ourselves the mystery of somehow knowing. Knowing what we need in the moment, and what is the right direction to go in our lives. I believe we all can access this inner knowing and learn to navigate our way in life through our consciousness.
We practice Mindfulness through meditation. It’s a time where we stop and become a human be-ing. But it’s important to remember as we sit, we are not doing nothing; we are practicing consciousness through awareness of the present moment. We focus on the breath, the body, and the mind by cultivating a sense of stillness. I’d like you to think of these moments of be-ing as a gift to yourself.
Here are ten steps to finding inner stillness and awareness through Mindfulness.
- Taking a sitting position that is comfortable for you that allows you to be alert yet also relaxed. Closing your eyes and establishing a sense of inner presence.
- Take three long, slow, deep breaths and then allow your breath to be natural. Allow your awareness to scan through your body and allow yourself to soften and release an area of tension or stress.
- If, for some reason using the breath as an anchor is not a good home base for you, anchor in the sensations of your hands. Releasing them and opening them comfortably in your lap.
- Paying attention to the moment, notice the sensation of your breath.
- Where is your attention now? When you notice your mind wandering off, bring it back to this moment, understanding this is a moment of Mindfulness.
- As you sit, scan your body and notice if any sensations are strong calling your attention.
- If so, on the next inhale breath into that area, and on the exhale release the stress or tension with the exhale.
- You may be noticing tingling, aching, twisting, stabbing, vibrating – with a soft open awareness feel the sensations noticing if they are pleasant or unpleasant. When they are no longer a strong sensation, bring your attention back to your breathing or your chosen anchor.
- As you sit, offer calm, steady attention to your breath and body. Just noticing nonjudgmentally but with a sense of curiosity.
- Sensing the breath in the foreground and noticing the field of sensations in the background begin to come back to the present moment and begin to open your eyes slowly. Begin scanning the body and mind and notice any sensations as you make your way back into your day with a greater sense of confidence and calm.
Mindfulness is a practice that will transform your life by allowing you to pause and learn to respond from your wise sense of self. It’s all about taking a seat and coming home to yourself and feeling complete and satisfied in the moment.