Perhaps at this stage your curiosity is all that you have and you may feel more comfortable working on a one to one basis rather than in a group. Well if that is what there is, that is a great place to start and I can offer you the space to be curious and explore your thoughts and feelings. A space to grow without judgement and criticism, to become more self-aware and accepting of who you are……….. After all;
“Where-ever you go, there you are” Jon Kabat Zinn
Love that phrase! Simple and honest, no messing and real and no escaping that. To try and avoid, to resist, to try and control and kid ourselves that we can distract the mind from thoughts that make us feel that which we don’t want to feel is to feed the illusion.
Resistance is futile as was said in some distant far away galaxy and it is. Acceptance is far more liberating and such an interesting and curious state to find ourselves in. Exploring our own thoughts from a distance. Observing the stream of images, as if from the shore, allowing memories, fantasies, conversations, planning, organising to simply be, just that. Stepping back from the content not being drawn into the monkey chatter of the mind that can spin and twist and turn on itself.
Where a thought of a close friend laughing with us can quickly turn to laughing at us, an example of an unwanted thought. A thought wandering into the realms of story and narrative. Yet still a thought and not a fact but we can react as if this is the truth and that reaction may dictate our behaviour. If you pause and pay attention you may catch the way in which thoughts can materialize and how they take on a world of their own and you may notice that thoughts can affect the body causing tension, tightness or perhaps a smile or laughter. Also, feelings and emotions can bring thoughts to mind and in some cases, this can become a loop leaving us with a sense of being stuck. Nothing likes to be ignored.
The Jon Kabat Zinn quote above is in reference to something that we become, rather than something that we do. We become mindful when we notice and pay attention in the moment and as we practice this, we notice and attend more to the moment and become more mindful. As with anything that you want to use as a tool for change it takes practice. If you want to be physically fit, you exercise more. If you want to be mentally fit you exercise the mind by retraining and practice, and to maintain the fitness of mind and body you continue the practice and integrate this into your daily life. So, it no longer is viewed as something you do but as something that is part of you, same as the food you eat and the air you breath, essential to your overall well-being. Of course, however much you practice is up to you as with anything, what you get out of it, is down to what you put in. If you are looking for a quick 21st century cure all fix, you may want to stop reading now and carry on as you were because Mindfulness is centred on paying attention and that takes effort, time, and practice and doesn’t have an end, it just as I have said before becomes part of you. All that is required at this stage is a curious, open and honest approach to what-ever is here.
If you spend the next minute with your eyes closed and think on this: What has brought you to this place in this moment?
Perhaps it is curiosity, well that’s all that is needed, add a sprinkling of openness, maybe a pinch of wanting something, not sure what, a splash of wanting to make changes and desires to let go of old patterns, manage stress, physical health, relationships, perhaps be more comfortable in your own body. Whatever the reason, you are here now, and this is what matters, whatever you decide to do, from this point try to make the choice in a conscious way, already noticing the thoughts that flood your mind with questions.
In the wider world, Mindfulness in recent years has become a buzz word, a trend, a hip and happening state of mind that has been picked up and promoted by many of our western societies and cultures. Mindfulness is now taught in schools, prisons, health, taught to the workers of the London underground to help reduce sickness levels, delivered to probation services and more recently politicians. Mindfulness is emphasized in movement practices, for example yoga, Qigong and creative arts, all of which have mindfulness already as an integral part of their philosophy or intention. Remember whenever you pay attention on purpose, even for a minute, you are being mindful in that moment. If you chose to move forward as so many others are and decide to give it ago then…
Welcome to The Art of Being You.