The thing that attracted me to mindfulness is its structure.
Firstly the word Mindfulness gets bantered around like the word Vintage. Like what does vintage mean? Does it mean second hand, over 50 years old, or perhaps pre war? TBH I don’t think anyone knows. Well I think the same thing can be said about the word Mindfulness, everyone banters it about without the awareness and knowledge of what Mindfulness really is about. So I thought, in my own sweet way, I’d explain my perspective.
Mindfulness is ‘paying attention in a particular way, on purpose’
Mindfulness is a very specific and structured step by step practice and there is a lot more to it than strolling along and stopping to smell a flower or emptying your mind.
From the moment we are born we make pathways in our brain and being in our groove or being stuck in the rut is just a matter of perspective. These ruts/groove become our autopilot. Autopilot is not the enemy, think of driving for example, it’s handy that we have the basics of that in our autopilot, but when we are being mindful we drop out of autopilot and we drop out of our heads into our body.
By re-grooving or changing our pathways in our brain we can change our deep inherent habits and thought patterns. This can be transformational and life changing in many areas of life for example weight-loss, cravings, addictions, anxiety, depression, stress management etc.
We, as human beings, are all born with a negativity bias. We are programmed this way because it was necessary for us to be aware of tigers approaching and for us to have the flight and flight reaction. But generally in life now, we do not need to be living in this zone at all times. Of course having the fight or flight response keeps us safe from danger, but it can also be harmful to our wellbeing to get stuck in it as a way of life.
So, in Mindfulness we look at the way the mind is wandering, we look at the way we feel sensations and we inquire into it. We do this with 7 certain attitudes and non-judging, non-striving are just 2 of them. So we don’t judge what is happening and we don’t strive to get anywhere or for anything to happen.
Mindfulness is a practice and practicing mindfulness needs to become a habit. Practicing Mindfulness is done through breath and meditation (a very specific, guided meditation to begin with and very step by step ). It is about turning towards the difficult and knowing that by its ok to have difficulties, that is all part of being a human being. It is about finding that inner calm in your day to day living and learning to respond and not to react.
Mindfulness is not spiritual or relaxed. It is not a mantra and it’s not used for sugarcoating. It is not about positive affirmation and it’s not complacent. Mindfulness is a structured, permissive practice which encourages us to be curious. You need to have robust training and a supervised pathway to be able to teach the MBSR 8 week course and that I have. I also use it in my coaching and I am also going to be leading Introduction to Mindfulness workshops and Retreats. The wonderful thing is, the more we practice mindfulness the more we’ll experience calm moments, even if we weren’t trying to be mindful.
I hope this makes the practice of Mindfulness clearer and if you are curious to find out how Mindfulness can help you specifically with weight-loss, anxiety, stress reduction, pain, trauma then I offer a complementary discovery Skype, zoom, FaceTime call. During which I can explain the practice in more depth and see if I can help you in a specific area.