Mindfulness meditation – with its roots in buddhism, its track record in stress reduction through Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) Programmes, and its increasing role in business through Mindful Leadership modules in MBA programmes, appears here to stay. We can say it works, not only because of the work of neuroscientists who show us how it works through evidence based research, but also because in our fast paced world there is an increasing hunger for the quiet moment.
Mindfulness is ‘the awareness that emerges through paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment with compassion, and open hearted curiosity ‘. (Jon Kabat Zinn).
Mindfulness meditation is a beautiful, simple way to reconnect with out inner ‘joie de vivre’, and so to prevent normal feelings of anxiety, stress and sadness from dragging us into deeper periods of unhappiness, sadness and and exhaustion. But here is what I have discovered as a Mindfulness Coach and Retreat Facilitator ….Mindfulness is simple but remembering to do it trips us up most of the time. So here is my gift to you today. Three simple ways to begin your journey into Mindfulness . My invitation, and my challenge is to try these three mindfulness practices during your daily routine for three weeks and let me know how you get on.
1.Take One Minute Of Mindfulness
At various times throughout the day take one minute and breathe! During this time, your task is to focus your entire attention on your breathing, and nothing else. Your mind will wander. A common mistake is to think this is wrong or an interruption to your lovely peaceful moment. Not at all , your mind is just doing what it does and your mindful moment is only to help you to begin to become alert to that. Gently acknowledge the thought, and gently come back to the breath. Do this gently, and kindly as many times as necessary ..yes even in one minute!
- Mindful Listening – An Act of Love
Often when we are listening to another person we are often there in body, but not fully present. Sometimes rather than focusing on them we are caught up in our own mind chatter or are busy judging what they are saying, mentally agreeing or disagreeing, or we are busy planning what we want to say next.
Next time you’re with a loved one or co-worker, try using your time as an exercise in mindfulness. Don’t just hear their words; really listen to what they’re saying. Focus all of your attention on the speaker. This type of attentive listening an act of love and kindness. People appreciate it deeply when you truly listen to them.
- Preparing Food Mindfully
For many of us preparing food for ourselves and loved ones is a daily activity. For the next three weeks instead of thinking of this as just a daily chore, I invite you to turn this daily task into a mindfulness ritual.
When you are preparing dinner, focus all of your awareness on the task at hand, in the present moment. Aim to be fully engaged in what you are doing and not caught up in mind chatter or just rushing to the end of your task.
For instance, as you are peeling or chopping vegetables, don’t rush through it simply ‘getting it done’. Notice the colours, textures, shapes, smells. feel and textures of the ingredients. Make your food preparation into a kind of karma yoga and move with mindfulness, fully attending to each small task, one by one . In this way, every little action will become a kind of sacred ritual, keeping you in the moment, in tune with yourself, your loved ones, and all living things.
Three achievable small steps into Mindfulness – my gift and my challenge to you.