I came across mindfulness training a few years ago when I found the book Mindfulness – Mindfulness Training *. I read it and put it on the shelf. Busy with everyday life and ticking off subsequent tasks, I did not find time to delve into his practice. I reached for the same book again four years ago. I was recovering from my illness, my anxious thoughts raced, and I didn’t know how to stop them. The only thing I dreamed about was a moment of peace.
It was then that I understood that I would not stop the thought, that it was not the case at all. Thoughts are flowing. They come and go. Just like the clouds in the sky. All we can do is observe them and let them flow exactly as they want. Since then, I have deviated from my daily practice a few times, and then returned with the same racing of thoughts and anxiety. I needed time to feel and experience. I needed time to notice that in today’s world it is difficult to find peace and quiet. You have to take care of them every day.
These four mysterious letters are nothing more than an acronym for Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction. It is the most popular mindfulness development program in the world, based on secular meditation techniques derived from the Buddhist tradition. In the late 1970s, Jon Kabat Zinn, an American neuroscientist, created a program for patients suffering from chronic pain and emotional disorders. During the exercises, the course participants trained the ability to carefully observe their thoughts, feelings and body sensations. After two months, it was noticed that the people covered by the course felt much better than those who were treated only in a traditional way. And so, mindfulness, and with it meditation “made it to thatch”, and today it is practiced by thousands (if not millions) of people around the world.
What exactly is mindfullnes?
Mindfulness, also known as mindfulness, is literally “fullness of mind”, “full awareness” or “mindful presence.” It is being attentive right now, without judging or judging. Here and now. And yet. Have you ever driven home by car and not remembering a second of the traveled route? Enter the room and not remember why? plan of classes for the evening? lie on the mat and completely float away into the world of dreams? sit with a friend for coffee and catch the fact that you are not listening? Our body is definitely here and now, but our thoughts are constantly circulating somewhere.
Mindfulness is full awareness of the moment.
It is being all the attention at the moment.
It is the feeling of tasting the food we eat.
This is the singing of birds that we hear while walking.
It is the warmth of the sand that we touch while walking on the beach.
It is feeling your own body while exercising.
It is full focus on the task that we perform.
It is watching everyday life and admiring the moment.
And maybe that sounds cheesy and too romantic to you. Perhaps you will think this is a waste of time. Why wonder what we feel when we are sitting, eating or breathing? Since there are so many things to do that you don’t have time to sit down, let alone think. Well, everything to “feel”. To stop and feel. Our everyday life is very fast and we do most of the things on autopilot. Accustomed to constant action, we do not wonder “what and why are we doing”? Why do I drink five coffees a day? Why am I reacting this way? What I feel? Why am I acting this way? Why do I eat things that don’t serve me? Why am I not resting even though I am tired?
Here and now
Rushing each day, we do not notice that life flows, and each next moment is given to us only at this specific moment. Busy and tired for hours, we dream bad visions, we worry about the future, what will be in a week, a year or two, and in fact it is enough to stay “here and now”. There is no reality other than the one we are in now. Meanwhile, our brain constantly wanders between dwelling on the past and worrying about the future. Our body, and therefore we – are here! And only the moment we are in counts. Because when I’m here – I don’t have to worry about what will happen tomorrow. Because there is no tomorrow yet. When I’m here, I don’t have to dwell on the past, because the past is no more, there is only a thought about it, a memory.
And I am neither that thought nor that memory. I can watch my thoughts. But I don’t have to identify with them, I don’t have to become them. I can feel angry but not be the anger. I may feel sad, but not become one. Watch it appear in me, realize its source, be with it and let it go. Thinking as a process does not stop, but we can stop, listen to the thoughts and observe them.
“When misfortune or stress hangs in the air, instead of taking it personally, we learn to treat them like dark clouds in the sky and watch them float away with friendly curiosity.”
As numerous studies show, conscious and positive mindfulness causes large changes in behavior and attitudes towards oneself.
- It can improve your physical and mental well-being in many ways:
- allows you to reduce the level of stress and mental tension
- increases emotional stability increases the level of happiness and well-being
- can prevent depression
- lowers the level of anxiety
- it makes us react less emotionally to difficult situations
- changes negative thought patterns
- improves concentration and memory
- improves learning ability
- has a beneficial effect on our brain
- strengthens the immune system
- increases mental and physical endurance
- helps fight chronic pain
Now do a little experience
Close your eyes for a moment. And feel the place where you are sitting? What is it like? Is it hard or soft? Comfortable? Or maybe something is hurting you? Watch it for a moment. Now turn your attention to your breathing? What is the? Is it deep or shallow? Watch your body move as you inhale and exhale? When was the last time you noticed such details?
This is knowing being here and now.
If you are interested in mindfulness and want to learn more, I recommend the following books:
- Jon Kabat-Zinn, Life, a beautiful catastrophe. With the wisdom of your body and mind, you can overcome stress, disease and pain.
- Eline Snell, The Frog’s Mindfulness and Peace of Mind.
- Mark Williams, Danny Penman, Midfulness. Mindfulness training.