Some describe mindfulness as a method of slowing down the mind to change the perception of traumatic events. Mindfulness as a wellness technique has definitely worked for me. However, I have to say this is selling the practice of mindfulness short. For me, it is more about savouring life, living life to the fullest and cultivating happiness.
A Lifestyle Choice
In our fast-paced society, gratification needs to be instantaneous. It’s often easy to be swept up in a collective stream of thoughts, words and actions. The mass media is often a key contributor in many respects. As a result, a sense of disassociation results. When we buy into collective thought, we stop processing our individual perceptions. We lose track of who we are on a deep level.
Connection & Empathy
Adopting mindfulness as a lifestyle choice enables us to connect with the world around us.
There are times when we may be perceiving an event or circumstance through the eyes of our old emotional wounds. We may have been deceived or cheated or hurt by another’s actions. And whenever a situation arises that resembles or feels similar to that which triggered our pain, we often leap into fight or flight mode. We vigilantly declare that will not happen to us again.
The problem is though that this often stops us from truly communicating with people. Unfortunately through not communicating effectively, we lose an opportunity to heal that old emotional wound.
When we are aware of your projections, we are able to put them aside and truly communicate with another person.
Whilst living in the moment we are less likely to rush into the future or dwell on the past. Instead we focus on the present moment. We are also less likely to make judgements about whether someone or something is good, bad, right or wrong.
Where there is connection, there is often empathy. When we are able to understand ourselves without harsh judgement, we are able to accept who we are as we are. A capacity to accept others unconditionally unfolds.
Pain Will Pass
Within a mindful space, we are able to experience whatever feelings are arising in the understanding that they will eventually pass. Additionally, when stuck in a sticky, unpleasant and painful patch, there is the understanding that this is not all we need to focus on the given moment.
People often say that pain is the only thing they seem to experience and that there is no light. I understand that when you experience setback after setback it really feels that this is the case.
I once heard the saying, “energy flows where the attention goes.” It occurs to me that this is really what happens during these moments. We become so focussed on our pain that it becomes the only experience we recognise.
It is during these times we need to be gentle with ourselves. We need to savour those moments that provide us with a break from our troubled thought processes. Mindfulness practice helps us achieve this even when we have only five minutes available in our day. And it is as simple as being able to smell the roses in a garden or feel the breeze against our skin and closing our eyes and savouring the moment. In that space, when we feel something so exquisitely satisfying do we find our selves thinking, “thank you Mother Nature. I needed this.” In that single moment of expressing gratitude, we have shifted the energy.
We will go back into our pain and allow it to be the only experience in our thoughts. However, with practice and being conscious of our thoughts, we can learn to be gentle with ourselves and provide us with the comfort and respite we need to thrive.
Mindfulness is about living life in all its glory. Different experiences feel right to different people. There is no ‘one size fits all’ solution to finding what makes us buzz with joy. You just need to explore healthy ways to find your bliss to discover your own way.
Anne McCormack is author of the book, Lovitude: Trying To Calm The Monkey Mind and the award-winning, Peacock Dreaming: The Wisdom Of Flowers.
Feature photo courtesy of Pixabay.
Interested in more articles? Check these out:
Focus on the Moment, Not the Emotion
My Wish For You – Stepping Into Mindfulness
Making Me Happy! A Journey Into Mindfulness
What Makes You Fizz? Living Your Purpose