Mindfulness – Meditation or presence
What is mindfulness? As the renowned psychologists Jon Kabat-Zinn’s defines it as:
“Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way;
in the present moment, and
Very crisp definition and yet very profound!
It’s all about being ‘present’ unruffled. The basic premise of mindfulness is ‘absorbing everything tangible and intangible’ around you. It is not a ritualistic meditation practice yet very deep and intense in its own way.
In today’s chaotic world one may find it difficult to be mindful. There’s a simple exercise to become mindful. All you have to do is sit in a place, preferably in a garden and access all your senses.
1. Visual - Rest your attention on everything you see. You can hold your head still or gently move it to look around. Take the world in with your eyes. Initially you may want to use your mobile or look at your watch but soon, you'll begin to notice details you didn't realize were there (the slight movement of the leaves in the breeze, tiny bugs around). If your mind wanders off into thoughts, when you notice it's happened, return to taking in all that you see—shapes, colours, movements.
2. Hearing - Now do the same with hearing. You can close your eyes if you're in a place where you can just sit and listen to the sounds around without getting disturbed. Take in all that you hear. You will be pleasantly surprised with the sounds in the neighbourhood! As Buddha said, "In hearing, only hearing."
3. Body Sensations - With your eyes opened or closed, move to bodily sensations. The first thing you will notice is the sensation of air coming in and going out of the nostrils. This is an interesting exercise, one can hear even the tiniest twitch in the body. If you wish you can focus your attention to different parts of your body and feel it.
4. Experience all - Now, open your eyes if they've been closed and, take a few deep breaths.
While breathing in take in sights, sounds, bodily sensations, any tastes in your mouth or odours you might smell, any thoughts or emotions arising in the mind. And slowly and deeply breathe out.
Let’s look at the benefits of mindfulness and why being mindful enhances all areas of one’s life.
Focus – It helps in eliminating procrastination and building focus.
Stress reduction – It helps in reducing day to day stress
Boosting memory – It will help in fine tuning one’s memory and enhancing one’s performance.
Healthy relationships – Several studies find that a person's ability to be mindful can help predict relationship satisfaction — the ability to respond well to relationship stress and the skill in communicating one's emotions to a partner. Empirical evidence suggests that mindfulness protects against the emotionally stressful effects of relationship conflict.
Better Health – Consistent practice of mindfulness also affects one’s health in a positive manner. An experiment was carried out on a team of workers engaged in a weekly meditation class led by Jon Kabat-Zinn. Following the eight-week class, researchers hooked up the participants' to an EEG machine to record their brain activity. The team gave participants flu shots and then took blood samples. The people who participated in the meditation class showed changes in their brain function associated with well-being and resilience. They also showed ‘improved response to vaccine’.
Empathy – As one is open and aware, one becomes more empathetic. This again solidifies human bond.
Compassion – One is able to deal with any situation in life from the eyes of compassion rather than being judgemental.
Tolerance – It helps in attaining a good amount of tolerance level. Instead of being reactive one becomes more tolerant and forgiving.
Acceptance of things as they are – One is able to accept everything happening in life from the eyes of a watch keeper rather than from the eyes of a victim.
As a leadership strategy, mindfulness helps people to be more effective by directing focus to the most pertinent task at hand. Deprogramming multitasking tendencies and intentionally focusing with full attention results in higher quality interactions and decisions. Mindful decision makers take the time to consider all of their options, and therefore therefore make more informed decisions. Managers who model and promote mindful practices with their teams create an environment of engagement.
Several well-known and respected organizations have long recognized the benefits that mindfulness brings. Google prides itself on being socially conscious, offering mindfulness meditation to its employees as part of ‘learning and development’ programs.
So immerse yourself in the ‘present’ and swim the sea of life effortlessly!
"As Eckhart Tolle so eloquently said: "Always say "yes" to the present moment. Surrender to what is. Say "yes" to life—and see how life suddenly starts working for you rather than against you."
Bio: Sunanda is a professional tarot reader, psychic, life coach and a published author. Reach her at www.sunandatarot.com
Abstract: Mindfulness as the name suggest is keeping the ‘moment in your hands’ while walking through the sea of life. This 11 letter word has an enormous amount to teach us!Most of us live life either in the past, or waiting for a golden future per se. What we forget is the ‘present’. Its missing the NOW we skip the beat of life. Why live like a moron and spend the precious present in a state of ‘absence’. Why not energise the very moment with a spark of your soul. The highest frontiers are broken in the state of being present neither living in the past nor dreaming of the future. So let go and let it BE!