What is Mindfulness?
The word mindfulness comes from the original translation of the Sanskrit word “Smṛti” and the Pali word “Sati” ~ both of these words literally translate as “memory” or “to remember“.
Mindfulness was originally defined in Buddhism as remembering to hold the object of attention without distraction, however in the modern mindfulness traditions it is defined more as noticing whatever arises in the present moment with non-judgmental awareness.
In the modern mindfulness traditions mindfulness is defined as becoming aware of thoughts and feelings and focusing attention on the present moment.
The goal of mindfulness is to create a gap in the incessant stream of thought by focusing on the breathing in the here and now thereby allowing us to sit in stillness and concentrate on an object without distraction.
With mindfulness we become aware of our thoughts, feelings & mental states without being caught up in them. This is done by stepping out of the story line of thoughts & mental chatter and observing the thoughts, we become the witness of our own thoughts. This allows us to accept thoughts and feelings without judgement.
Like clouds & mist obscuring a clear blue sky, our thoughts cover our clear light nature, they cover up our inner most subtle being. By calming the thoughts we can reveal our true nature and be who we are truly meant to be.
In the silent moments of mindfulness meditation I align with inner peace, with source, with Buddha nature, and with the pure depths of my being.
The Benefits of Mindfulness
- increases calmness and balance
- increases energy levels & improves sleep
- increases levels of compassion, love & patience, improves relationships
- improves memory, focus, concentration and productivity
- increases positive thinking
- boosts the immune system
- reduces stress, anxiety, depression, anger, confusion
- reduces chronic pain
- slows heart rate, lowers blood pressure
- decreases negative thinking
- reduces addictive and self-destructive behaviour
- can reduce symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress
How to Practice Mindfulness
There is more than one way to practice mindfulness, but the goal of any mindfulness technique is to achieve a state of alert, focused relaxation by deliberately paying attention to thoughts and sensations without judgment. This allows the mind to refocus on the present moment. All mindfulness techniques are a form of meditation.
Find a place to sit where you won’t be disturbed. Sit quietly, alert, grounded and at ease. Take a few deep breaths. Focus on your breath, or silently repeat a mantra.
Notice the thoughts without judgement. Let them arise and pass. When your mind wanders bring your attention back to focusing on your breath or the mantra.
Notice any sensations in your body, notice them, eg numbness, throbbing, burning, aching, tingling etc – name them then let them pass. Scan different parts of your body noticing any tension and relaxing.
Notice any feelings and emotions that arise, such as anger, love, notice them without judgement, become an observer of the feelings to let them go.
Notice any sounds or smells in the room, name them, observe them, then let them go.
A few minutes of mindfulness can be practiced anywhere
Once you become familiar with mindfulness a few moments of mindfulness can be practiced anywhere – drop your eye lids, focus on the in & out breath, and bring yourself into the present for a few moments. The more we remember to do this and create a gap in our thoughts the more familiar we become and the easier it gets. It is a way of getting ourselves grounded and centered.