What is mindfulness
So what is Mindfulness? Although Mindfulness is not strictly used for Spiritual Guidance, it does bring clarity to situations. The practice of Mindfulness is about observing without judgment, without criticism or reaction; it is about being compassionate toward ourselves at all times.
Initially it is a practice whereby you set aside time to observe, thoughts or things without criticism, judgment, or reaction, in order to train your mind to remain in neutral in any situation, even situations that may appear highly stressful, or frightening.
As you develop your ability to do this, so you become more and more aware of how your reactions, your judgments your beliefs, create the stress you experience not the situation itself.
It is an incredibly powerful technique that if you take the time to master it will pay huge dividends in your life.
It enables you to catch negative thought patterns early, before they pull you into a negative cycle of fear, anxiety, or depression. It puts you back in control of your life.
What is the practice of Mindfulness?
The practice of Mindfulness on a regular basis until it becomes a natural part of you, will bring about long-term changes in your mood.
Mindfulness although it may involve meditation, is not of itself a religious practice or even a Spiritual Practice It is simply a method of training your mind to observe, whilst holding reactions in neutral.
Mindfulness is not time consuming, to begin with regular practice of 5 – 10 mins a day can give you a great insight into how your thoughts lead you down an unhealthy path.
It will require persistence in the early days, until you adapt to the idea of being an observer of your thoughts rather than the creator of them.
Once you realise that thoughts come and go without any deliberate intention on your part, you will be less interested in following them wherever they lead, especially as so many of them lead you into anxiety, fear and depression.
Many people over the years have benefitted from Meditation techniques, and you may find some of the Mindfulness techniques are similar to Meditation techniques.
However, some people find it difficult to imagine, or to visualise, or may even feel uneasy with the process of closing their eyes. So, it is not suitable for everyone
Many mindfulness techniques have been developed over the years, so you are bound to be able to find one that works for you.
If you have tried meditation but found that you lacked the ability to visualise, or imagine, or that you felt uncomfortable with your eyes closed then perhaps Mindful seeing maybe something that you can use instead.
Mindful seeing is a simple exercise, requiring only some kind of a view. This could be from a window, or out in your garden or indeed sitting out in nature somewhere that is quiet and free from noise or other distractions.
Step 1: Go outside or find a window or an open door that looks out onto an interesting scene that has a lot to look at, but little distraction by way of movement or noise.
Step 2: Look at the scene and just notice, colours, shapes, textures etc, but do this without forming opinions or having judgments about any of what you see, you are just noticing them, not allowing the mind to attach to them and create a dialogue about them.
Step 3: Pay attention to any movement in the tree, bush or grass, again without judgment, this means don’t notice the grass then start thinking “OMG, that’s a bit long I need to get out and cut that” just notice everything that you can notice.
Try to look at everything with new eyes, in other words notice these things in a way that you have never looked at them before
Step 4: Try not to get fixated on anything it is most important to not engage the mind in any dialogue about any aspect of what you are seeing.
Step 5: if you become distracted by thoughts, don’t be irritated with yourself, or give up, just gently pull your mind away from those thoughts and once again notice a colour a shape or a texture and continue the exercise.
Although this sounds like an easy exercise, you may find it quite challenging, we are so used to allowing the mind to have a free reign, and we are so used to following the thoughts without even realising that we are, that for some this can be quite a difficult exercise.
It is however a very powerful exercise if you practice regularly, you will begin to recognise when the thoughts intrude and how to return to your focus, these are invaluable tools as you progress.
Especially for those who suffer from overactive minds who cannot switch off their thoughts, and for those whose thoughts lead them into Anxiety states, panic attacks or even depression.