“What is capable of seeing, hearing, moving, acting has to be your original mind”
– Chinul, twelfth-century Korean Zen Master
– Mary Oliver
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is a practice that allows us to be in the moment. By reconnecting to our breath, the bridge between the mind and the body, we give ourselves breathing space, which helps us to slow down, effecting our nervous system and thus giving us time to make more measured and balanced decisions.
Over time, and with continued practice, we become more productive, have an improved quality of sleep and begin to take care of ourselves differently; we feel more able to inhabit our body rather than ignore it. We are able to take in and enjoy all that we have already created in our life and to see more clearly what we might be wanting to change or transform.
Meditation is an aspect of Mindfulness that is important and over time can grow to become space for a practice that helps us to be in the moment, especially at times of stress and pain, physical and mental. As we meditate, thoughts will arise, it is not about clearing our mind; we become more aware of the thoughts and what we make them mean which allows space for them to pass, like clouds in the sky; they move away as quickly as they have arisen. Thoughts are often persistent, particularly negative ones, but with gentle awareness we begin to judge them less and see them for what they are. By exposing them to the spotlight of inquiry we begin to notice they are attached to old belief systems and patterns, often generational, which keep us stuck in the past. Frequently this leaves us feeling unable to move forward.
Ultimately, Mindfulness and meditation practice help us develop self-awareness and allows us a means of being rather than doing. Hence it helps us slow down and experience life in a deeper and more enriching and rewarding way.