The much talked about topic of mindfulness came up in class this week and I wanted to expand and share the discussion so everyone could benefit.
Mindfulness is the act of awareness of everything that is going on within us on a conscious and unconscious level. Both internally and externally. We achieve mindfulness by remaining present in the moment. In Yoga, mindfulness is referred to as being the witness or the observer. The practice of yoga expands and deepens our conscious awareness.
Mindfulness is a daily practice
A good place to start being mindful (being present) is by using all of your senses within day to day situations. Hanging out the washing, doing dishes, making a phone call, going for a walk, listening to your kids or partner and through focusing on your breath. On a personal level, begin to listen to your body and honour your emotions. Notice when your mind is endlessly chatting and you are no longer engaged in the present moment. Notice when an emotion arises and rather than falling into an old habit of reacting, become aware of the emotion and then enquire as to why you are feeling this way.
Through observation we no longer react, but allow and enquire. When we observe our behaviours and enquire into the energy behind them, transformation takes place. Being the witness also extends to our body and our environment. When we are fully conscious and aware of what is happening and able to stay focused on the present moment, we are able to make better decisions and choices.
Meditation is an act of mindfulness as it trains the mind to focus and is a great way to learn to be present. Through practice the mind learns to quiet. Thoughts will continue, but you will observe them and allow them to pass through the mind screen rather than being oblivious and absorbed in the endless chatter. Meditation practiced daily has the ability to change the pathways within the brain to enable you to remain calmer and experience more peace.
Through the practice of being present and being the observer we become fully aware of our body, mind and spirit as well as our environment. It is through this experience that we come to the realisation that we are connected to everything around us. Through observation we realise that we are not the body or mind but the one watching the body breathe. We are the observer seeing through our eyes. We are the one witnessing the mind chatter. Once being the witness and observer becomes a habit we are what is referred to as ‘awake’. We are no longer unconscious. We no longer see ourselves as seperate but interconnected and a part of the whole. Through our deeper connection to ourselves, the world and universe. We live with greater acceptance, awareness, compassion and love, one mindful moment at a time.
The Mindfulness Experiment – Catalyst ABC
The Science of Meditation – Can it really change you – Catalyst ABC
Maintaining a Mindful Life – Free online course through Monash University