Would you like to have mindfulness and accept your feelings and thoughts, without resisting, fixing, and analysing? It’s easier said than done because of the very strong force of nature that stands between you and the non-judgemental acceptance of your situation – the mind.
Mindfulness is a 2500-year-old practice of cultivating moment-to-moment awareness of whatever is arising, without judgement. It is a state of being, and has been given many names viz., conscious attention, stillness, awareness, presence or present moment awareness. The key components reflected in this practice are ‘awareness’, ‘moment to moment’, and ‘non-judgement’. What is arising in you could be inside of you, your internal world, i.e. , mind (thoughts) and body (emotions), or outside of you, your external world.
In challenging situations, we would all like to be able to accept all our feelings and thoughts, allowing them to be as they are without resisting, fixing, and analysing. This is easier said than done because there is a very strong force of nature that stands between you and the non-judgemental acceptance of your situation – the mind.
Mindfulness, therefore, focuses on developing a relationship between the mind and the present moment through the use of various portals, e.g., breath, inner body or sense perceptions. Cultivating mindfulness is a two-step process:
1) Mindfulness meditation allows you to become the observer of your mind and emotions. As you sit for a few minutes, you notice the mind activity, its contents and their effect on your body through emotions and sensations. Noticing does not mean that you have to do something about it. Rather you allow the thoughts to be there without being pulled into them, and you allow the feelings to be there, directly experiencing them. What helps to remain focused on this activity of noticing is the breath. The breath is the anchor to which we attach our conscious awareness.
2) Mindfulness practices on the other hand allow us to still our minds for a brief moment so we can connect to the present moment and experience the richness and the beauty that is around us all the time. Practices include present moment awareness exercises, mindful eating and mindful being. The use of sensory perceptions fully connects us in the NOW, breaking the incessant thinking in which the mind engages involuntarily. It helps us to dis-identify from the mind!
The same practices also allow us to choose better responses in reactive situations. Most importantly they allow us to become presentor mindful.
Almost everybody is doing something 99% of the time. If it is not something physical that we are doing then it is our mind that is doing the thinking, analysing. Our thinking mind never gets a break and neither does our body. The body responds to the incessant thinking by feeling tired, tense, worried, anxious, frustrated… We can’t stop the mind from thinking but we can choose to focus our attention on our sense perceptions to come into the NOW, to experience the fullness of this moment – the aliveness of this moment, whether it is the clear blue sky, the flowers in our garden or the juicy plum we eat!
In order to do so, an awareness is required. An awareness of the need for awareness. We know that it feels good to the body. It rests the body, relaxes the body, grounds the body, allows it a break from the mind. Instead of being on automatic pilot with no awareness, we are now aware, alert and present.
Five steps toward creating mindfulness in your daily life:
• Conscious breath
• Conscious movement
• Conscious sense perception: the seeing, the listening
• Being the awareness behind your sense perception
• Raising your vibration by engaging in an activity that nourishes your soul
Born in Pakistan and living in Australia since 2004, Tripty Hirani (Ph.D.) is an ex-biochemist, now a certified holistic counsellor, reiki practitioner and mindfulness instructor to adults and children. She owns and operates Transformative Holistic Counselling in the leafy inner west suburb of Chapel Hill, QLD, and runs mindfulness programs for adults and children through Kenmore Community Education.
Tripty has been practising meditation for over twenty years and has found it very useful in training the mind to be present, still and mindful. She is passionate about creating mindfulness in our daily lives and especially in stressful situations and she is passionate about introducing these practises to children and resourcing them for the future.
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