Why mind(full)ness matters

Mindfulness is the art of being present in the moment. It’s a form of meditation that doesn’t require a quiet space or solitude but can be done at any point throughout your day, no matter where you are. Personally, I find that the busier the environment, the easier it is to practice. But we’ll get to that.   As someone who has practiced mindfulness for years, I recently sat back and asked myself why mindfulness really matters. Why am I so passionate about this practice? Of course, there are the researched and theorised benefits of meditation and mindfulness (any Google search will pull up plenty) but lower blood pressure or better sleep isn’t really what drives me. Those benefits are much like eating more greens: something I know is good for me but mostly relegated to my well-intentioned to-do list. There had to be something else. And there is!   You see, as a self-professed seeker, I’d spent the majority of my life trying to quench my incessant thirst to finding the answers to life’s big questions. My desire for the mystical and magical lead me to some interesting places. But when I didn’t find what I thought I was looking for, I’d move on. But then at the age of 33, for various reasons, I underwent a major paradigm shift. I stopped looking for answers externally and recognised that all answers were within. And I mean, everything. Since then, I have been aligning my external life with my internal truth. This way of living has bought me much joy, freedom and fulfillment and is an on-going process. But inner-knowing requires a lot of self-awareness.   And this is where mindfulness really helps me. Self-awareness is a muscle that needs to be developed. No matter how well intentioned you may be to be more self-aware, that alone is not going to cut it. Your mind needs training: especially in our world today where we live so removed from our natural state. In our natural state, we are more connected to everything around us – our senses literally come alive – and we can experience life directly as opposed to being ruled by our thoughts.   Mindfulness, as opposed to other forms of meditation, is a great first step to increasing our self-awareness. In my own experience, being stressed and busy (sound familiar?) meant that I didn’t always prioritise self-care and a daily session on my meditation cushion. It was always the easy thing to push over until tomorrow.   But if the thought of training your already busy mind in any way makes you nauseous, don’t despair. It’s really easy and fun.   In fact, once you’ve got the basics it becomes rather addictive (in a healthy way, of course!). I think this is because being able to detach from our incessant thoughts and into our senses – even just for 5 minutes – gives us a kick like no other. Being self-aware helps us to make decisions that are true to us, and connect with our creativity and intuition. It’s really empowering! Mindfulness is something you can do with other people – your children, or even with your team at work.   So how do you start?   An easy way I think of the practice is as ‘mind(full)ness’. Instead of trying to empty your mind of thoughts (impossible!) you want to fill your mind with your senses. Give it a try whilst making a cup of tea or coffee: what can you smell? How does the cup feel in your hands? What does it taste like? Can you feel the warm liquid inside your body? What do you see? It’s amazing just how much you can get in there!   This is why I find it easier to do in busy places: there is so much to hear, see, smell, taste and feel that even the most distracted brain will latch on. In the beginning it may help to close your eyes but in time you will also want to practice really looking at an object deeply. Studying the colour of a friend’s eyes whilst you chat, or seeing how the light dances off the tops of the waves whilst you surf. I also recommend activating one sense at a time. There is so much to simply hearing, for example, that you will want to give it all the attention it requires before moving on.   If you would like to learn more about this, over the next few weeks I will be sending a series of short video clips on how to get started with this practice. So stay tuned, and sign up for my newsletters if you are not already.   Enjoy!   With love, Nicola              

Share This:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *