Being mindfully aware of your self and the present moment
What is mindfulness?
Put simply, it is the practice of being “in the moment”, fully conscious and present, aware of but not attached to thoughts and feelings, mindful of your mind but not “caught up” in what you are thinking.
Mindfulness has been defined as “the awareness that emerges through paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgementally to the unfolding of experience moment to moment” (Jon Kabat-Zinn, 2003). Mindfulness is the ability to so train your mind to “become aware of awareness itself and to pay attention to one’s own intention” (Dan Siegel, Mindsight 2010).
Being aware of your self and the present moment
Mindfulness requires being mindfully aware of the present moment from a stance that is non-judgemental and non-reactive. The beauty of this work, which you can develop in meditation but which practice is not essential to practicing mindfulness, is that the very nature of being still, going within, attending to the breath and letting go, brings you naturally to a stance of present moment awareness. In the activity you also learn to “self-regulate” more effectively, in other words to manage your mind and let go of thoughts and feelings, especially those not serving you!
It teaches self-observation, or metacognition, the ability to monitor what is going on for you, the ability “to describe with words the internal seascape of the mind” (Dan Siegel). As Dan argues, at the heart of this process is the ability to “self-tune” (my words), to be attuned to your self.
Spin-off’s include the ability to
- be better attuned and connected to others,
- resonate with others,
- stabilise the mind,
- better manage one’s moods,
- deal with negative thoughts,
- better handle depression and anxiety,
- be more resilient, and
- achieve emotional equilibrium.
It thus links well with the development of emotional intelligence.
For health and wellbeing and personal growth
Given that among the biggest causes of sickness in society today are those related to depression, anxiety and stress, this is superb stuff. One of the early champions of secular mindfulness practice is Jon Kabat-Zinn and his ground-breaking book, Full Catastrophe Living has for long been almost a bible for stress-management practitioners. In it he describes an invaluable system in body scan and mindfulness breathing and meditation.
And what’s so useful is that neuroscientists have observed the areas of the brain related to these qualities grow and strengthen and become better connected. As they say, “what fires together, wires together”. Personal growth literally happens!
Thus within what we do, you can receive support in the art and science of mindfulness and how to apply it in your daily life and in addressing your challenges. There is a free introductory ecourse available, to the right of this article.
Moreover the practice helps you take yourself to a stiller, more profound place in your life, from which you can experience your world differently and for the better. And be yourself, as you truly are.