Modern Mindfulness is based on the 2500-year old Buddhist philosophy that can help us build better relationships with our thoughts and emotions. By doing that, we can gain greater understandings of our mind.
Mindful psychology for example is a more recent trend and other “branches” of Mindfulness have emerged. They all have the same root. Some forward-thinking companies have employed mindfulness coaches to collaborate with their teams . . .
What does it mean to be mindful?
A friend posted this quote from Lewis Carroll on Facebook yesterday, “I can’t go back to yesterday because I was a different person then”.
My response . . . There are lessons from the past that I can try to carry into many tomorrows, but they are only of any use right now. By morning, they may be obsolete unless I allow the winds of change to bend them to their will. I am the winds of change.
It’s about living with the gift of the present.
What happens when we are not mindful?
We are all over the place. We avoid, try to multi-task and that NEVER works, it’s just a diluting distraction that makes everything take longer. We don’t show up, our heads are not focused on the gift of the present moment.
- Mindfulness helps to reduce stress.
- It develops improved focus and mental clarity.
- Has positive effects on working practices and relationships.
- Deepens our compassion and understanding of other people.
- Helps us to show up and pay attention.
A Practical Guide To Mindfulness
Choose any daily activity that doesn’t thrill you. We all have some of those and we often aim to rush and get them out-of-the-way so we can move on to the things that matter.
Select Your Activity
It doesn’t matter what it is so long as it doesn’t usually thrill you. Today, I choose to sweep the floors. I know there are benefits to doing this, but I find it less than satisfying because it will need doing again in a few hours, it never seems to go away. But mindfulness practice sorts it out.
As I pick up the broom, I notice the feel of the handle in my hands. It’s wooden and quite smooth, not cold. Oh, I just remembered something I need to do. Quiet dear thought, I will get back to you later. I imagine gently blowing it away.
Starting to sweep, I hear the brooms bristles on the wooden floor making their own unique sound. It’s quite nice really. Even relaxing. I notice the occasional knock of the broom against furniture adding to the symphony of sound and the change of the music as I switch to a tiled floor where the colors change from oak to a mixture of pleasing hues on the tiles.
I notice light coming in through a window and micro-dust dancing in the light. That’s frustrating, at some point that dust is going to settle, and I will need to do this again. I simply acknowledge that, smile and bring my attention back to the task. More off-task thoughts drift in, I gently send them away until the time is right, finish the job and smile at this small victory with thanks.
One of the things I started to notice after practicing mindfulness techniques like this was how I began to change the way I was looking at things. I also noticed how my less than desirable jobs lists started decreasing while I hardly noticed my input. That continues to have a tremendous feel-good factor and we all know how we get things done when we feel good.
Two mini mindfulness practices by Gelong Thubten
Who? Gelong Thubten is a Buddhist monk, meditation teacher and author from the UK and I’m proud to admit that he’s one of my superheroes and that’s not only because he was the meditation consultant for the Marvel movie, Dr. Strange. He trained actors Benedict Cumberbatch and Tilda Swinton in meditation techniques while they were filming.
“Thubten specializes in teaching mindfulness meditation internationally, in businesses, hospitals, schools, universities, prisons and addiction counseling centers, and he gives keynote speeches at major events around the world. He has been teaching for over 20 years and is a world pioneer in the mindfulness movement, as he was teaching in these sectors many years before it became popular”.
Defiance 2 – Simply Mindful
I use the techniques below and once you get into the swing of them, they can be applied almost anywhere and during most activities. Just make sure that you practice them in a safe environment because you might find yourself “drifting off”. If you do, that’s fine, you will still have the benefits and with practice, you will stop drifting off.
What it is NOT
It is not about avoidance or masking our problems; it is not an evasion tool.
The external world and how we are caught up in it is distracting and disconnects us. It’s about reconnection and self-acceptance of us and our reality.
We are the beautiful blue sky, everything else is the weather.
A Few Mindful Tools
While these tools are designed to be practiced in just a few minutes, they can also be extended as you see fit.
Gentle background music may help to get you started. Look up some 432 Hertz music on YouTube.
With practice, you can drop into a mindful meditation at any moment to clear the debris and recover clarity.
When our breathing becomes chaotic, so do our minds. Let’s control it with this simple 1 – 2 – 3 technique.
This is helpful at the start of any activity and particularly at the start of these simple and practical meditations. They are easy to do, easy not to do.
Notice in the surrounding room. Explore the light, the shadows and any sounds.
Feel the ground under your feet.
Focus on the contact between your body and the chair.
Switch your attention to the texture of your clothing under your fingers, as your palms rest on your knees or the tops of your legs.
Notice your shoulders. They may feel tense or tight, but that’s OK.
Become aware of the front of your body. Feel how the breath moves through your body. Breathe naturally, without effort.
Whenever your mind wanders, gently return to the present moment, using your body as the focus.
Look at the sky; it’s clear and blue, or there are clouds.
Your mind is like the sky; limitless and spacious.
Feel as if your mind slowly mixes with the sky.
Keep looking at the sky.
When you feel distracted, remember that thoughts are like clouds, and the deep blue sky is always there behind them.
Your mind is bigger than your thoughts.
Imagine you’re looking beyond those clouds.
At the end, close your eyes and focus on your body for a few moments.
OUR Actions bring the results we seek, mindfulness helps us to control the actions.
More Tools That Help
Relating to these there are plenty of tools in addition to the one presented here that can help with your Personal Growth and Development whether you feel challenged or just seek to advance the way you respond to your world. If you would like a free 20-minute coaching session on some of these, please leave your contact details in the comments and you will receive a prompt response. Alternatively, you can send an email. Please understand that your contact details will never be shared outside ExGro.
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Comments and Questions
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I bow to the place in you that is love, light, and joy
Peace & Light
Steve Costello is a British Community & Youth Studies and Psychology honors graduate with over 30-years theoretical and practical experience in the Personal Development public and private sectors. He founded ExGro in 2018 with business partner, friend and clinical psychologist, Leo Faerberg.