Most of us go through life making decisions based on our past experiences without being really mindful of all the issues involved. This can lead to the stereotyping of people and situations and us not always taking the best course of action.
What exactly is MINDFULNESS?
Mindfulness is being fully aware or conscious of what is happening around you and what you are thinking and doing in the moment, in the ‘now’. Simply put, you are mindful when you know the thoughts and feelings you are having about a person or situation and are then able to pause, think and make a more conscious decision.
If it is still not clear, let me describe it as a blend of pure openness, pure observing, and most importantly, ‘a pure feeling of self ’ without any real thinking at all.
Let us do a little experiment which may give you a better idea
A moment of mindfulness
Clap your hands together suddenly, or snap your fingers
At the same time, shout out ‘I’m alive!’
Now be very quiet for a few seconds and focus on your feelings
What do you feel? A little shaken, disorientated or even confused?
What you did was to be briefly, fully mindful of your experience of ‘being alive’.
The sudden clap or snap also opened your subconscious mind for one split-second to allow you to experience this at a very deep level and produce the strange feelings that you may have had.
Now imagine a situation in which you are able to create this experience at will, increase it further, and keep it going for long periods of time.
How is mindfulness useful?
Mindfulness improves your thinking by giving you better mental focus and attention to detail. It also improves your intuition by connecting you with your subconscious mind and you become more aware of the real issues as well as hidden agendas. This helps with understanding human behaviour and improves problem-solving. You are able to make more conscious and rational decisions in your business as well as private lives.
Mindfulness also empowers one with a sense of well-being and increases moral, human and animal-rights awareness. Mindful people are less judgemental, more empathetic and compassionate, more aware of the consequences of their actions, and able to consciously take steps to avoid hurting others.
It is good for your mental and physical health, relationships and success in business dealings and essential for reaching your full mental, emotional and spiritual potential.
In fact, new forms of therapy try to raise your mindfulness to the point where you can see and deal with past and present issues holding you back and re-connect with your authentic self, that pure childlike part of you before it was ‘programmed’ by your past experiences and squashed by the demands of the world.
How do I become more mindful?
The problem is that most of the time our minds are very active, filled with chatter that takes all our attention and stops us from becoming more mindful and living fully in the present moment.
If you wish to be more mindful, you have to lessen this clutter and clamour going on in your minds and shift gears to a more relaxed state. Brainwave patterns for normal active minds are about 12-30 cycles per second (cps) (the Beta state). You will have to learn to lower it to the Alpha state of 8-12 cps second or even further, to the Theta state of 4-7 cps. This slows down your normal thinking until your brain is just idling or ticking over with no actual thought, but you are still fully aware of what is happening.
This lowering of your brain activity allows your subconscious mind to become more dominant and you will feel a greater sense of self or ‘presence’.
Sit comfortably, close your eyes and consciously begin to relax your body. Move your focus to your breathing. Allow all thoughts to slowly leave your mind. This is a process of ‘letting go’ rather than trying to force it to be quiet.
Begin counting in your mind as you breathe in slowly for a count of 5
Hold your breath for a count of 5
Breathe out slowly for a count of 5
Hold your breath again for a count of 5
Begin the process again, breathing in to a count of 5
Do this for about a minute. Your mind will soon settle down and you should feel more relaxed.
A powerful experience of mindfulness
Hold your hands in front of your chest palms facing you, Look down at your hands and move your fingers slowly, repeating to yourself slowly over and over:
‘I am alive’
‘I am alive’
‘I am alive’
Now stop moving your fingers and turn your palms towards your chest. Move your focus to the area between your hands and chest. At this time, change the words to ‘I am’, repeating it slowly and deliberately over and over again.
You should feel a second shift to an even deeper level of mindfulness (the ‘I’ consciousness).
Finally, change the words ‘I am’ to the word, ‘I’ and also repeat this slowly and deliberately a number of times, still focussing on the area between your hands and your chest.
Breathe deeply and try to be fully mindful of what it feels to be ‘I’.
Carry on until you take a sudden, deep spontaneous breath and for one exhilarating
moment become fully mindful of the fact that you are alive.
Do these exercises from time to time. They will certainly quieten the frenzied activity of your minds and increase your mindfulness.