Welcome… Cultivating Mindfulness & Lengthening our Practise
Creating some space, gives us a chance to think. We breathe, we notice, we remain in ‘the now’; and within this space, wisdom arises. If we can move our decision making process from a heightened state of flight, fight or freeze, to that of more relxed more calm, more self aware place we will, with practise, give a more intelligent, more calmer, and often more compassionate answer. We end up making wiser choices, choices that your future self will be happier with. Even just reflecting on that statement….. pausing for a moment and imagining you asking future you, in this sort of situations, will this response make me happy? Will this make my life simpler? Cultivating Mindfulness & Lengthening our Practise
Thinking about making your practise simpler, I am often met with people feeling like a failure after going on lengthy mindfulness courses and feeling like they havent ‘achieved’ the desired or expected outcome. Often we get too lost in ‘Meditation’ and ‘Mindfulness’ and clinging to the potential future benefits, or even focusing too hard on trying and losing any benefit of the being. We forget that meditation is just an opportunity to fimilarise how we are feeling in the moment. However many moments we have in this practise. So we can simplfy this by letting go of any expectation of getting something out of it, and just experiencing what arises. An opportunity to look closer into the distractions, the what we are distracted by at the moment, what are we focusing on and instead of wondering where it has arisen from, seeing if we can let go of what has arisen… Often part of this distraction is just down to your mind shifting to our default mode network, or the more sexier phrase of ‘autopilot’. Cultivating Mindfulness & Lengthening our Practise
A Recent study by Harvard highlighted we go into autopilot 50% of our lives, Harvard has named this autopilot switch the Default mode network and there have been some incredibly interesting studies that have happened since its discovery in 2010 by Dr Matthew Killingsworth, These studies show that if we can keep our mind wandering to positive, the autopilot more into creative or functional thoughts this can actually enhance our lives, Like you may know those moments when you least expect, all the pieces of the puzzle just seem to fall together—when you’re not focused on something in particular—in the middle of the night, in the shower, when you’re relaxing outside, driving. These mind wandering parts in our lives, sometimes can work for the good.
The original 2010 study highlighted that we tend to think negatively in autopilot, we tend to get stuck in rumination or thoughts of what could have been, which as you would imagine is not so beneficial. So training the mind to be present with what is happening around you, rather than in the throws of negative views, this study showed is, as you would expect, much more beneficial.
Because we spend so much of our day in autopilot, mindfulness will help you chose wisely how to engage with the thoughts you are having. It is not just about present moment awareness, it is a form of intelligence in that moment, where we get choice, to continue to think, be it negative or positive, or bring ourselves back to the abundance that is life in that moment.
By just pausing and reflecting a few moments the wisdom shines through the clouds. We literally just pause, and breathe and notice what is with us and around us. The revolution of mindfulness, taking as many moments back from the distraction of negative thinking as possible.
This pausing, even if it is only just for a moment also makes us feel better. I have heard so many people on my courses over the years say, I have been pausing often, even in times where I am happy and it not only gives me a bit of respite in the moments of stress, but seems to also enhance my happiness in that moment too. Space creating is such a wonderful and generous gift you can offer yourself. We are always doing, just by pausing we are remembering to be. I know you have probably heard this a milion times but it rings so true… We are human beings after all…
So why would we lengthen our meditation practise? Science is showing in most meditators even 10 minutes every day will help bring about a much calmer more creative you… We lengthen our practise, just like you would lengthen your jog if you were training for a marathon except this marathon is life and you are training the mind muscle. So the more we can look into our own inner being, the more we can notice changes, reactions, discomforts. This would be like a seismometer on a mountain measuring trembles for the potential erruption of a volcano. We continue to rest into our lives and become familiar with what is there, how we are feeling, the pleasant and unpleasant and our relationship with it. Bringing some tolerance to our discomforts, giving rise to compassion, a gradual and systematic training.
So, the more and more we retrain our brain to be present, to be aware, to notice these subtle changes happ
ening in that the moment, the quicker we can attend to them before they turn into stress, anxiety and other illnesses or injuries. It was a Canadian neuropsychologist, back in 1949, a man called Donald Hebb that coined the phrase, what fires together wires together, (pause) with recent advancements intechnology, neuroscience is proving how we can literally rewire our mind to be happier, to be present and more compassionate
How can we cultivate mindfulness? Practise. We have for many many years trained our mind to be in do mode, we have needed this analytical mind to keep us safe and continue to keep us searching and therefore evolving. With our mind firmly flicked on the do switch, and never making anytime to just be, we end up living in a heightened state of alertness.
So cultivating mindfulness is taking an opportunity to experience life just as it is, without judgement, without criticism. We need to remember that mindfulness is not a thing. If you check the dictionary you will find that Mindfulness is a noun, a word to describe a thing. It is not a technique that you just go, here this is mindfulness, take it every morning and night before you got to bed… Mindfulness is something that we experience through returning back to this moment, and it is this moment is where we find our peace.
Speaking of peace, let us practise a bit of meditation. I have attached below a breathing meditation, so sit back, lie down, even stand up if you feel like it, and settle yourself for a bit of formal practise.
Please click here and listen in…
How did you find that?
What did you notice?
How was the mind before, during and after?
Maybe tiredness, maybe movment, maybe buzzing, maybe even happiness?
Maybe you didnt feel any of these things and that is perfect too, even in the discovery of nothing is important.
Thank you all so very much, have the most incredible day, and I hope to see you soon.