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Mindfulness – What is it and how can you apply it?

Mindfulness – What is it and how can you apply it?

Tropfenspiel in blau und grn

Mindfulness – What is it and how can you apply it?

Mindfulness, it seems to be the buzzword these days, and you may have seen us mention it in some of our blogs. Everyone from Oprah, to some of the world’s top business people to us here at Wavelength, we’re all talking about mindfulness.

So what exactly is it?  How can it help you and more importantly, how can you bring it into your life?

There are many references directly and indirectly to mindfulness throughout the world these days. Perhaps the most obvious association is with Buddhist monks.  But would you believe me if I said you can find reference to it in Groundhog Day with Bill Murray?  If you want to see how mindfulness fits into modern day life, go back and watch that film, then read the book ‘ The Wisdom of Groundhog Day – How to improve your life one day at a time’ by Paul Hannam.  But if you don’t have the time to watch or read either of them, a problem in itself maybe, let me give you a brief rundown.

We live in a busy world.  From the moment we wake up to when we go to bed there are so many things vying for our attention – the kids, our partners, work, the radio, email, social media, people with their blogs – I could go on and on.  And, what’s  worse, we try to cram it all in.  Flitting from here to there.  Listening to this, reading that, trying to remember what we saw this morning, thinking about what we still have to do later.  On the journey to work, we are stuck in our newspaper, (unless we’re driving obviously) doing our notes for work or lost in the music on our earphones. 

 

But what is actually going on around us.  Who are we with?  What might we see if we only looked?

And that’s mindfulness right there.  Being aware of what you are doing now, savouring the now, seeing the now, hearing the now.  Not thinking about what was or will be.

Because the ‘now’ is the only thing we really have control over.  Just think about the Groundhog Day phenomenon.  For those of you who haven’t seen it, Bill Murray plays a narcissistic weather man who thinks about nothing but what will further his life.  He ends up getting stuck in the same day, over and over again, until gradually he comes to realise that what is important are the actual moments of the day and the people in them.  That concentrating on helping others actually brings more to his life than anything else.  Until he is finally mindful of each and every moment in the day rather than looking at the past or the future. This is what finally makes him happy and allows him out of his loop.

So, how can we achieve this?  Obviously we can’t loop the same day over and over again.  But we can start noticing more about what goes on around us.  Start small, don’t suddenly expect to be aware of every second of your day.  Set yourself the challenge of once every hour of stopping, looking around and truly take notice of what is going on.  What colour is the sky?  Who around you may need help? What sounds can you hear around you?  The more you do this, the more of a habit it becomes.  You reprogram the brain to work in a slightly different way and so it becomes a habit and soon is something that happens automatically.

But there is also something else you can do.  And that’s learn how to meditate.  Now there are articles and books written on this subject and you can also  go and take courses.  So I realise I can’t teach you how to do it in a few sentences. But you know,, despite all that is written, there are just a few basic things you need to know about meditating and you can start trying right away.  Firstly, you don’t need to sit crossed legged on the floor.  Just find any position where you feel comfortable and aren’t actually aware of your position.  Secondly, you don’t need to completely empty your thoughts. You just need to be aware of them, see them as separate from you.  So when one arises, instead of flitting from one to  another to another to another, just acknowledge it and let it go.  I tend to imagine it floating away down a river.  Thirdly, you need to know how to breath.  And I guess you can all do this.  Then, just focus on your breathing, notice it moving in and out of your body.  If you get carried away with a thought then go back to noticing your breathing.  With these three simple things and practice you can rapidly become a better meditator.  And the more meditating you do the easier mindfulness during the day becomes.

So why not give it a go.  I promise, you will find life infinitely richer and more enjoyable and be able to relax a lot more easily.   I was going to tell you about the next blog in the series, but then I remembered that I’m supposed to be focusing on the now.  So I won’t….see – I’m learning.

Karl_Wav3
Karl_Wav3