February 1, 2020
What is Mindfulness?
Here’s where it all begins. This is an extract from your first Meditation. Just to let you know that you can choose either Alex or Michi to guide you.
Hi! I’m Michi. I’ll be with you all the way on your Mindfulness journey with Mindabout. And a huge Thank You for joining us. Wow!.
All of this is likely to be new to you. As a beginner, you will hopefully greet this experience with the joyous engagement of a newcomer. But please note that you should approach every practice hereafter in the same joyous mode as if it’s your very first time. We call this the beginner’s mind. This is a key principle in mindfulness.
One of our Mindabout mantras is: Softly, Softly. It’s important for learning that you and we take our learning one step at a time. So, we will introduce mindfulness to you in this Softly, Softly mode.
So, what is Mindfulness?
You must have considered this before, otherwise you wouldn’t be here. You may have searched the internet. There are thousands and thousands of opinions and answers offered as a solution to this question, some good and some not so good.
Our intention is to help you understand mindfulness by focussing on 3 high-quality mindfulness sources, who can explain mindfulness in clear and simple terms. In this way, you are in safe hands in terms of your learning.
There may be a bit of repetition as we go through each source’s contribution. But that’s OK. Repetition is an excellent learning tool!
Our first source is the esteemed Greater Good Science Centre at UC Berkeley, who offer a concise definition of mindfulness.
For the Greater Good, mindfulness means maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment, through a gentle, nurturing lens.
Mindfulness also involves acceptance, meaning that we pay attention to our thoughts and feelings without judging them—without believing, for instance, that there’s a ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to think or feel in a given moment.
When we practice mindfulness, our thoughts tune into what we’re sensing in the present moment rather than rehashing the past or imagining the future.
That’s a pretty good start. Let’s look at this – softly, softly.
The renowned National Health Service in the UK, commonly known as the NHS, helps us further to get a clear and simple picture of what mindfulness really is.
They remind us that it can be easy to rush through life without stopping to notice much. We are so often on autopilot.
Paying more attention to the present moment – to your own thoughts and feelings, and to the world around you – can improve your mental wellbeing.
Some people call this awareness: mindfulness. Mindfulness can help us enjoy life more and understand ourselves better. You can take steps to develop it in your own life – just as you are doing now.
To expand on the meaning of mindfulness, the NHS quotes Professor Mark Williams, an expert on mindfulness. Professor Williams is the former director of the Oxford Mindfulness Centre, and an acclaimed author of several excellent books and articles on mindfulness.
Mindfulness means knowing directly what is going on inside and outside ourselves, moment by moment.
It’s easy to stop noticing the world around us. It’s also easy to lose touch with the way our bodies are feeling and to end up living ‘in our heads’ – caught up in our thoughts without stopping to notice how those thoughts are driving our emotions and behaviour.
An important part of mindfulness is reconnecting with our bodies and the sensations they experience. This means waking up to the sights, sounds, smells and tastes of the present moment. That might be something as simple as the feel of a banister as we walk upstairs.
Another important part of mindfulness is an awareness of our thoughts and feelings as they happen moment to moment. It’s about allowing ourselves to see the present moment clearly. When we do that, it can positively change the way we see ourselves and our lives.
Becoming more aware of the present moment can help us enjoy the world around us more and understand ourselves better. When we become more aware of the present moment, we begin to experience afresh things that we have been taking for granted.