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What is Mindfulness

MindfulnessMindfulness

 

Mindfulness is the art of pure awareness, awareness of what is occurring both within and without, as it occurs.

 

Mindfulness is being fully present with everything happening in the here-and-now, with each task, situation, activity or interaction without adding our ideas about the reality of the moment.

 

 Mindful people are fully alive - alert, aware, engaged, interested and inspired.


This practice leads to a complete experience of oneness with the moment, resulting in perfect completion of any action. Presence is the key to success. The present moment is ultimate reality - the sheer bliss of existence itself.


When our thoughts are not focused on the past or the future, much stress is avoided. Thoughts of the past often bring up feelings of regret, anger, sadness, guilt or disappointment. Thoughts of the future are filled with anticipation, anxiety, uneasiness or worry. When a person is truly in the present, thought does not interfere - all that exists is the experience of the moment.

 

Mindfulness comes from Mindfulness Meditation - an ancient technique that simply opens us up and cultivates awareness of our basic human experiences moment by moment. This makes it possible to fully know ourselves for the first time in our lives. We see our psychological, physical and behavioral patterns without having an opinion about them. We simply see ourselves exactly as we are, through and through, and this awareness naturally changes any unhelpful patterns we observe without any additional effort on our part. Mindfulness Meditation is more than a technique - it is an art. Those who practice Mindfulness Meditation spontaneously practice mindfulness all the time, without even trying.


SittingThe Formal Practices

 

Living Stress Free® promotes formal Sitting Mindfulness Meditation and formal Walking Mindfulness Meditation. It is certainly acceptable to remember to practice mindfulness throughout your day as you go about your activities. However, we have found from our personal experience and from studying under meditation masters, that formal practices are the best way to reach the results one derives from the art of mindfulness.

 

Here are three reasons why the formal practices help so much:

 

  1. Taking 20 minutes per day for Mindfulness Meditation will help you deeply imbibe the mindful state so that it occurs naturally and spontaneously throughout your day without effort. 
  2. Practicing Mindfulness Meditation regularly creates new neuro-pathways in the brain that leave space for change. Old habitual behaviors stay with us because our thought patterns follow the same neuro-pathways we developed in the past. This is why change is so difficult. People who meditate regularly become more open to change, more flexible with unexpected situations and perceive life in a new way. We all become improved versions of ourselves.
  3. A third reason to meditate regularly and consistently is even more significant than what has previously been mentioned. We experience our true self, which is causeless happiness, deep contentment and pure expansive love. When you go beyond the thinking mind and touch the vast silence within, this is what is experienced. You begin to realize that all thoughts, feelings, sounds and external phenomenon are temporary and transitory. The only constant is this loving, joyful, peaceful silence within, that we were born with and exists in each person.


stonesInformal Practices

 

Mindfulness is an art. It can be performed while making tea, walking, listening to a friend, working, or during any daily activity. Mindfulness practice will teach you how to experience the depth, warmth, and contentment of each moment no matter what you are doing. 

 

There are many ways to informally practice mindfulness throughout the day. Here are a few common LSF practices to try:

 

  • Feel the space that occurs in between each breath. After you exhale, before you inhale, there is a pause. a rest. Notice that space as often as you can during the day.
  • Listen to the sounds that occur throughout your day. Also, listen to the silence between the sounds. By hearing both sound and silence you are more fully present, in the now.
  • To bring your mental focus into the present, take an inventory of your five senses. Notice what you see, what you hear, what you smell, what you taste, what you physically feel. Keep a moment-by-moment commentary to remind yourself of the present moment as it occurs.
  • If you are too distracted by your thoughts, just label it as "thinking" instead of focusing on all the details of the thoughts themselves. If you feel a strong emotion such as anger, just label it as "anger" instead of focusing on what you are angry about. 
  • Cultivate curiosity. If you are genuinely curious about each moment you find yourself experiencing, you will automatically be mindful.
  • Shift your attention to the feeling of your body whenever possible. As you walk, feel your feet touch the ground. Notice if you are restless, fidgety, unable to sit completely still. Try to feel your body in motion and stillness.
  • Eat mindfully. When you eat or drink, really taste the food or drink. Don't divide your attention by distracting yourself or multi-tasking. When you eat, just eat, and enjoy it fully.
  • When you go to sleep at night, do a body scan and notice each part of your body, allowing each part to let go and return to its natural, relaxed state. Feel the bed beneath your body, feel the blankets, listen to sounds in the room. Bring your awareness to the here and now.
  • Whatever you do, enjoy it completely, without judgment.

 

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Happy Meditating!

 

Lou and Marilyn


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