Mindfulness is the opposite of automatic pilot
“Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way; on purpose, in the present moment, and non judgmentally” Jon Kabat-Zinn.
Jack Kormfield says it is, “Awareness of present experience with acceptance”.
Sam Harris says, “Mindfulness is simply a state of clear, nonjudgmental, and non-discursive attention to the contents of consciousness, whether pleasant or unpleasant. Developing this quality of mind has been shown to reduce pain, anxiety, and depression; improve cognitive function; and even produce changes in gray matter density in regions of the brain related to learning and memory, emotional regulation, and self-awareness”.
Sometimes you may be thinking without knowing that you are thinking or Sometimes your thoughts can be giving you a hard time
The power of the PAUSE
- If you pause and become aware of your thinking you can choose to do something else.
- You can actively pay attention eg to your breath and then notice what else is happening.
- As you notice your thoughts or other things/sensations you let your attention come back to your breath and then you let your thoughts, sensations come and go and pass by.
You will have moments between the thoughts.
- You are no longer hostage to your thoughts in those often fleeting moments.
- You get a glimpse of being – a spaciousness, a bliss, a joy, some compassion.
A Mindful Attitude
As you practice mindfulness it is helpful to bring a mindful attitude, which for me means, being present with a gentle friendly attitude or at the very least a curiosity.
In most mindful practices, you notice the thoughts, sensations and feelings and then you gently bring your attention back to eg your breath or mantra or whatever you are focusing on.
When you do this you become an observer of your thoughts, feelings and sensations and you start to understand that everything moves past or through you. You learn to allow and acknowledge what you find and let go of resistance. You remain curious and open. This increases your capacity to be with difficulties and to be in the moment without becoming overwhelmed or avoidant.
Mindfulness can re-engage you with moment-to-moment living.
The benefits of Mindfulness if you keep practicing coming back to the moment are that it:
- Enhances your capacity to be with pain (or indeed your joy)
- Allows you to step out of your thought stream (or ruminating or getting stuck in past or future thought loops)
- Gives you insight into your self
- Generates compassion towards your self and others.
If you would like some free resources on mindfulness…
Please go to my resources page for handouts on some mindfulness practices.