Raising Awareness of Self and Others Through Mindfulness
Mindfulness is an ancient Buddhist practice which is very relevant for life today. Mindfulness is a very simple concept.
So what is Mindfulness and How can we as individual apply Mindfulness in raising more awareness for self and others?
Mindfulness is being in the present moment, non-judgemental. This increases awareness, clarity and acceptance of our present moment reality.
It is simply a practical way to notice thoughts, physical sensations, sights, sounds, smells – anything we might not normally notice. The actual skills might be simple, but because it is so different how our minds normally behave, it takes a lot of practice.
I might go out into the garden intending to relax and take a breather, and as I look around, I think “that grass really needs cutting, and that vegetable patch looks very untidy” and so on. And a young child suddenly calls over excited, “look, a colourful butterfly!” Mindfulness can simply be noticing what we don’t normally notice, at the present being and moment because our heads are too busy in the future or in the past – thinking about what we need to do, or going over what we had done.
In a car, we can sometimes drive for miles on “auto-pilot”, without really being aware of what we are doing. In the same way, we may not be really “present”, moment by moment, for much of our lives: We can often be “miles away” without knowing it.
By becoming more aware of our thoughts, feelings and body sensations, from moment to moment, we give ourselves the possibility of greater freedom and choice; we do not have to go into the same old “mental ruts” that may have caused problems in the past.
My personal favorite mindful activity is a mindful walk. Walking is something most of us do at some time during the day. We can practice, even if only for a couple of minutes at a time, mindful walking. Rather than be “in our head”, we can look around and notice what we see, hear, sense. We might notice the sensations in our own body just through the act of walking. Noticing the sensations and movement of our feet, legs, arms, head and body as we take each step. Noticing our breathing. Thoughts will continuously intrude, but we can just notice them, and then bring our attention back to our walking. You’ll be amazed even taking a walk in your familiar neighbourhood, brings new discoveries that you may have never noticed before, just by being 100% present and mindful of your presence.
The primary focus in Mindful Meditation is the breathing. The primary goal being to have a non-judging, calm awareness, allowing thoughts and feelings to come and go without getting caught up in them. This in turn creates calmness and acceptance, and it is this kind of moment that great insights about self can surface.
As you may have already experienced, hazards and opportunities are just all around us, it is when we are totally present and mindful of our current being, we see and act mindfully of what might be carving our wonderful future from this present moment.
How Can Mindfulness Helps In Self Awareness
One of the most effective way of managing negative or intensed emotions is through mindfulness – being aware of the thoughts non-judgemental, observing and listening before acting. As we become more practised at using mindfulness for breathing, body sensations and routine daily activities, we can then learn to be mindful of our thoughts and feelings, to become observers, and subsequently more accepting.
By becoming mindful of the actual experience as an objective observer, visualize you having another clone of your body next to you, watching you – using mindful breathing and concentrating attention on breathing with the body’s experience, listening to the distressing thoughts mindfully, recognizing them as merely thoughts, breathing with them, allowing them to happen without believing them or arguing with them. If thoughts are too strong or bad, then we can move attention to our breath, the body or to sounds in the environment.
We can use kindness and compassion for ourselves and for the elements of the body and mind’s experience. By viewing these disturbing sensations, feelings, thoughts and experiences as passing events in the mind, rather than as “us”, by simply being present in this way, you support your own deep healing.
This results in less distressing feelings, and increases our level of functioning as in having that awareness and clarity to find solutions that suits our authentic needs, or addressing the negative with positive solutions through the healing process.
Find out what you can achieve through a mindful coaching session with me.