Mindfulness is the practice of being present

Could you just stop for a moment right now and consider if at any time today since you opened your eyes, you have paused, with intention, and taken a breath, noticed a colour or smell around you or noticed your two feet on the ground or the floor? Have you paused and simply allowed yourself to take in where you are with no other reason only to pause and be present?

If your answer is no, then you are certainly not alone and would be joining with millions of people around the world who spend most of their day living, not in their body, but mostly in their mind. If you were to accidentally walk into a door and bang your arm or leg, or if you were to feel a rumble of hunger in your stomach, then you would most certainly bring attention to your body; due to pain or the need for food. However, most of the time we live from the neck up; in our minds; thinking, thinking, thinking.

Thinking of course is wonderful! Planning, organising, being creative, reminiscing….all powerful operations of the mind and incredibly important to our every day lives. We get training in thinking from our first day of school and all the way up throughout our years of education. What training do we get in awareness however? Zero. We are trained in thinking so the mind expands and grows but our awareness then remains limited. The result of this? We spend so much time planning and worrying about the future or regretting the past that many of us end up feeling burned out from our thoughts, in low mood or anxious, or both. This can present itself in many symptoms such as stress and we can underestimate the impact that this can have on our daily lives.

*“Mindfulness is the practice of being present; present with what you can see, feel, taste, smell and hear.* We can also use our breath and our feet to anchor us into the present. This, is how we settle the mind. We don’t try to clear it! That would probably be a huge task for most of us. Instead we allow the mind to ‘be’ whatever it is and it is in doing this, that we will eventually calm our thoughts and in turn the body will feel more settled and at ease. Just ‘being’ is the ‘how’ of becoming more peaceful.