We each have so many various time constraints, relationships, and demands, that it can become almost second nature to simply respond in an unconscious manner as we try to get everything done and manage it all accordingly. There’s nothing “wrong” with responding in this manner, but there is a different way. A way which may allow for a bit more space, freedom, and compassion for yourself and others.
The practice of MINDFULNESS helps cultivate a general awareness of yourself in the context of your surroundings. When you can take a moment to breathe and look inward, even in the face of chaos, struggles, or pressure, you can create a clearer, more compassionate relationship with yourself.
It is one thing for us to invite you to “Practice mindfulness.”, but what is it exactly? and how is it done? To be truly mindful is actually pretty simple. You work on NOTICING what’s happening for you, without judgement, action, or application of a filter. The practice of MINDFULNESS is not the end in and of itself. However, it can be an extremely valuable asset when it comes to taking further action or making informed decisions.
Think about this:
You are sitting at home, it’s a beautiful spring day and you find yourself looking out of the window. You see a towering tree with it’s green leaves and sturdy branches outside the window. When you look at that tree, what do you think? Do you wish it were different somehow? Do you wish it were a different type of tree? Do you wish it wasn’t there? Probably not. You just see the tree for what it is.
Now let’s take it a step further, imagine you are looking at yourself the same way you look at the tree. You are simply noticing what is. Look at all of YOU; your anxiety, depression, loneliness, joy, repression, cognition, deviance, transgressions, etc… just like you would look at that tree. What might change in you, if you were truly able to look at yourself in this manner?
There are many ways to help achieve this mindset, one way is through meditation. meditation. Meditation can help focus your mind by slowing your pace and focusing your mind. If you choose to concentrate your efforts on meditation for a period of time each day, you can get in the habit of practicing mindfulness.
A common misconception about meditation is that you can’t think about anything during it. That’s not the case at all. Instead, think of meditation as a time of refocusing. We have one million thoughts crossing through our mind every single day. It is common to think of each one as the most important thought, too. Meditation helps process the overwhelming thoughts as what they are: simply thoughts.
Meditation is simple.
- 1. Find a comfortable position.
- 2. Close your eyes.
- 3. Breathe normally.
- 4. Focus on breathing. Focus on how your body moves. If your thoughts wander, think about your breathing again.
Meditation reinforces existing in the present. With rumination, we can get stuck in the past or be anxious regarding the future. Being in the present can assist in putting things in their proper perspective. Thoughts can be utilized as tools instead of roadblocks.
We can’t control having thoughts. They will happen. What we can control is how we interact with our thoughts. This can help give peace to our lives and help reinforce being mindful of our surroundings. Through this, we can achieve perspective on our emotional states.
Whereas meditation is a singular focus on a simple activity, yoga incorporates many different disciplines together to formulate a lifestyle based on finding the truth inherent within yourself. While this may sound lofty, it really means trying to be mindful of your world. Yoga, not unlike meditation, focuses on objectivity and calmness simultaneously with life events.
There are a multitude of ways people practice yoga. Ultimately, a tenet of yoga is to gain higher state of mindfulness. To gain peace and objectivity is one of the primary objectives for all who participate.
With yoga, it is hoped that through a directed focus on something, that one can get through the blocks the world places upon our path.. Whether it is through the “typical” Hatha Yoga, which couples movement with meditation, or Karma Yoga, which is a dedication to service of all to help the self. It is meant to achieve a state of mindfulness that could provide greater insight on ourselves as individuals.
Why Do I Need to Be Mindful?
When we have feelings of emotional fragility or fear it’s easy to be consumed by this. Sometimes, in order to gain some relief from these types of feelings, we place our emotional security on external sources. Soon, our satisfaction doesn’t come from within, but from external stimuli that gives brief glimpses of happiness. While external measures can be valuable, an over-reliance on them can have crippling effects on us. We can get lost in chasing temporary satisfaction and lose out on what could make us emotionally satisfied in the long term.
Greater emotional intelligence, often has it’s roots in mindfulness. By briefly separating ourselves from compulsive thinking, distressing emotions, and other dysregulated states of being, we can be more objective about the situation and we can observe something closer to the truth about ourselves.