A Beautiful Mind

 Beautiful Life1

We all have ideas about what a healthy, happy body looks like but do we know what makes up the components of a healthy and happy mind? What does a “beautiful mind” really mean? What qualities of mind do we prize the most, and which ones best reflect this notion? And how does mindfulness support us to train our mind to be comfortable and able to take life in its stride? Here are five elements that make a beautiful mind.

A beautiful mind is… Calm. Imagine a mind perfectly at ease with itself, with everything and everyone around it. It’s a mind that is tranquil and serene, no matter how busy or quiet life may be. That’s what it means to have a calm mind. Mindfulness simply gives you the necessary tools to facilitate this process, in a natural and effortless way.

A beautiful mind is… Grateful. It’s so easy to spend life chasing after all the things we don’t have, the things that we want, the things we think will make us happy. Sometimes we’re so busy chasing that we forget to notice the things we already have, the people in our lives and the fortunate circumstances in which we live. There’s not much beautiful about a mind which is always craving more. So use mindfulness to develop a healthy sense of appreciation for what you have right now.

A beautiful mind is… Clear. Take a moment to picture a perfectly still pool of water, with not even a ripple on the surface. The water is so still, so clear, that you can see everything within it, even the things right at the bottom. This is the clarity of mindfulness. It’s having the ability to see the mind, to know the mind, exactly as it is. Free from judgement and self-criticism, a clear mind is one that simply knows.

A beautiful mind is… Spontaneous. Sometimes life seems repetitive: You feel stuck in a rut, like a hamster on a wheel. When you feel this way, life quickly loses it’s magic, creativity and excitement. It’s as if you are caught up in an internal dialogue, unable to get free. Mindfulness shows you how to step out of that dialogue, how to be present, living moment to moment with a natural spontaneity.

A beautiful mind is… Caring. It’s important to know how to make yourself happy. But just as important is the ability to bring happiness to the lives of others. How can you live with any sense of genuine happiness when those around you are unhappy? Mindfulness is a way of letting go of our own self-serving, self-interested desires, making way for a caring, compassionate and beautiful mind.

Love & Laughter Always! ~ John


Mindfulness Anger Management

The most important thing you can do to manage your anger is to slow down your life and get in touch with the feelings in your body and heart. Anger thrives when we stay busy; the speedy mind is fertile ground for anger to continually perpetuate, as we race along avoiding what’s going on with us on the inside. At a most basic level anger really has nothing to do with outer conditions, it’s all about our relationship with our own body and heart and mind.

By learning to slow down we start to contact our feelings. We feel the anxiety and restlessness in our chest, the fear of uncertainty in our stomach, and we begin to relate with those, and eventually to relax. These feelings are scary at first, especially when we have been avoiding them for so long. But once we open to these edgy feelings, we realize that they are not a threat; they are natural, and come and go in their own natural rhythm.

There are a lot of ways to slow down. It’s not easy, because our habitual speed has tremendous momentum, so to make a change we need to interrupt that speed very deliberately. We need to change the way we go about our life. We need to slow down and allow time and space to develop a relationship with ourself, plain and simple. The key formula for success is commitment to doing it, and then taking action.

When you suffer problems managing your anger, you will be tempted to avoid being with yourself, there is a tendency to keep your body and mind busy so that you can avoid your feelings. Everyone has this tendency to some degree, and with anger management it’s definitely a part of the picture.

One of the most powerful things you can do to better manage anger is to learn to be more present with your experience. This includes your breathing, feelings of your body, and the energy moving in your body. Emotions, including anger, are a form of energy and the more we can access our own energetic feelings, the more confidence we will have in working with them skilfully.

This is not necessarily easy to do, but it is something we can become better at. Over time we can learn how to be with ourself more and more fully. The first step is a desire to do, and from there we can discover ways into our experience. Mindfulness practice is one particular method that is time tested and widely used, and is something we can practice on a daily basis.

Mindfulness is a simple practice of being present with our experience. By sitting quietly in a relaxed and upright posture, we place our attention lightly on the breath. Then when we notice our mind thinking about other things, we gently return our attention back to the sensations and movement of our breath in our body.

It’s a simple practice, but by no means an easy one. However if we do it, it has the power, or rather, it gives us the power, to change our deep seated tendency of avoiding our own experience.

Thanks to Mindfulness Anger Management for this blog. ~ Love & Laughter ~ John


101 Reasons to be Mindful

1. You simply feel better.

2. You experience life more fully.

3. You experience other people more fully.

4. Other people experience you more completely.

5. It’s easier to just ‘be yourself’.

6. It improves your golf swing.

7. You notice when things change, which is always.

8. You let things change instead of always holding on.

9. Smiling is easier, and you end up doing it more.

10. It relieves stress.

11. You are more confident about what to say, how to say it, and when.

12. Your senses are more clear and vivid.

13. You worry less about the future, and ruminate less on the past.

14. You feel less inclined to always ‘be in control’ and can more easily flow with situations.

15. You get more accomplished, and you feel better while your at it.

16. You spend less time managing your stress levels.

17. You expend less energy in blaming other people and the world, for your problems.

18. You spend less time managing your anger.

19. You spend less time visiting your doctor.

20. You spend less time glued to the television set and computer screen.

21. Other people like you more.

22. You like other people more.

23. When someone is different than you, you are less likely to judge and be put off by them, and more likely to be curious and interested.

24. Relaxation and quality of life become more important to you than staying on the treadmill 24/7.

25. You are less inclined to always filling the space with needless activity.

26. You are less freaked out by contradiction and uncertainty.

27. You are more comfortable with ‘letting things be’.

28. Your body starts to feel good.

29. You start to feel good.

30. You become more in tune with ‘things as they are’.

31. You are kinder with yourself and more friendly with other people.

32. Looking into someone’s eyes seems normal and you do it with greater ease and frequency.

33. You speak more clearly.

34. You feel less need to always be talking in situations when there is nothing to say.

35. You become more considerate and more aware of what is the most helpful in any given situation, for yourself, and for other people.

36. You feel less upset when people cut in front of you inline.

37. You are less inclined to experience road rage.

38. You realize that complaining is silly and a waste of time.

39. You give better hugs.

40. You write better blog posts.

41. You worry less about your google search rankings.

42. It helps you let go of bitterness and resentment.

43. You cheer up!

44. You look at people with ‘kinder eyes’

45. Jealousy is less a problem.

46. Greed haunts you less.

47. Love comes easier and with more strength.

48. It strengthens your immune system.

49. It helps you deal with loss.

50. You can better regulate your emotions.

51. You become more rational.

52. Being right becomes less important.

53. Making love is more like making love.

54. You don’t forget to water your plants.

55. You realize that the size of your wallet is actually not the meaning of life.

56. You contribute to the gross domestic openness of the planet.

57. You decide to give up being unhappy.

58. You decide to give up being unkind.

59. You decide that your life is pretty good after all, even if there may be all kinds of problems.

60. You feel more connected with yourself.

61. You feel more connected, with life, with your surroundings, and with other people.

62. It ticks you off less or not at all when people forget to be kind and considerate.

63. You need fewer supplements.

64. You become less afraid and resentful of your weaknesses.

65. You become more honest and confident about your strengths.

66. You take pleasure and pride in details, in taking care of life’s simple tasks.

67. You notice the space between things.

68. You appreciate how much goodness and magic there is in the world.

69. You feel acutely how much confusion and suffering there is in the world.

70. Life and death somehow make more sense.

71. Walking down the street you notice, Wow, that’s wonderous and beautiful.

72. You don’t shut down when reality suddenly changes and life offers you the unexpected.

73. When you stop, you can hear yourself breathe and feel yourself be.

74. Sometimes you understand life at a profound level.

75. Your heart feels lighter.

76. Your eyes sparkle and your smile shines

77. Every so often, time simply stops, and you notice how magical is this life.

78. You are more accepting of life’s inconveniences and you discriminate more clearly when to try and change them and when to let them be.

79. Your mind, and your world, tend to feel less cluttered and more spacious.

80. It becomes less compelling to obsess about your problems.

81. You tend less to harbour enemies and more likely to make new friends.

82. You remember to regularly do nice things for the people you live with.

83. You remember to smile at people you don’t know.

85. You recognize that, really, we’re all in the same boat.

86. You recognize that, despite all our problems, human society is an uplifted and worthwhile situation.

87. You are stronger and more clear when a person or situation threatens you.

88. Your sleep is more restful.

89. Your days are more satisfying.

90. It’s interesting and enjoyable just walking down the street.

91. Energy flows throughout your being with less obstruction and more ease.

92. You are less inclined to addictions.

93. You do finer work.

94. You live better.

95. You die better.

96. You sing more.

97. Grace flows through your days.

98. Ease flows through your nights.

99. You finally decide: Now is the time, now is the time to live my life fully, not in the past, not in the future, but now.

100. You know impermanence, you know joy, and you know how straightforward life can be.

101. You recognize that in fact, you have arrived.

Love & Laughter Always! – John


Mindfulness in Sport

To achieve optimum performance, athletes not only need to train their bodies but also need to have complete control over their minds. Professional players always seem to have a natural ability to create ‘mind over muscle’. What they are actually doing is playing the game mindfully. Having a mindfulness practice helps sports people increase their concentration and focus on their game. It’s about having the ability to see things as they really are without being influenced by mood, fear or other strong feelings. Regular mindfulness practice helps to enhance performance and will prevent burn-out.

Here are some mindfulness tips which will help you to compete at your very best in your chosen sport :-

  • Breathe easy:
    It’s vital for all athletes to get into a habit of mindful breathing. This is recommended whenever you start feeling stressed out, anxious or insecure. You should try and bring awareness to your breath as much as possible, especially before you perform. It’s important to be aware of the different thoughts coming into your mind, to immediately let them go, like cars passing your house. This will help you to remain calm, sharp and mindful.
  • Feel your senses:
    No matter what kind of sports you are in, you will get an opportunity for full body awareness. Suppose, you are running, you need to feel the moment to moment connection which your body experiences that includes discomfort as well as pain. The main challenge is to experience that level of sensation and experience its pattern. The mind will have a tendency to wander away – you need to use mindfulness to accept this, and bring your attention back to the job at hand.
  • Focus
    Sports people need to be intentional of what they are doing. It’s important to keep your focus, which is an essential part of mindfulness, and not let other thoughts interfere with your performance. Focus on the current moment – whether it is fitness training, a regular exercise routine or the actual event.
  • Enjoy common activities:
    Practise mindfulness even when you are doing some common tasks, like washing dishes, brushing your teeth, taking a shower, packing your sport-bag, getting ready for an event or simple walking up to a pre-destined area. Suppose you are travelling in a bus, all you need to do is take mindful breaths and start reflecting on the things which occurred throughout your day. This relaxes your mind and helps accept any emotions without fighting with them or trying to avoid them.
  • Practise with a fellow sport:
    How many times have you faced a situation when you simply wished to end a conversation with someone prematurely and move on? Well, why not start fully listening to what others have to say and then react very honestly to what the other person has to say. You will surely become a better listener and know yourself better, thereby building patience and better friendships too.
  • Analyse things calmly:
    You need to contemplate your body, feelings and state of mind. Focus on your breath, clear your mind and analyse different aspects of your situation mindfully.

Mindfulness in Sport is all about being fully aware, fully focused and stepping back from your thoughts and emotions! Love & Laughter Always! – John


How ya’ goin mate?

‘How ya’ goin mate?’ ‘Good, and you?’ ‘Not too bad’ This is a typical Australian verbal exchange when meeting and greeting. I am continually amazed how so many people are positive on the outside but actually suffering on the inside. Fear is what stops people from sharing their true feelings. Fear about what people might think, fear of being judged, fear of appearing weak, fear of being different or fear of just about anything you can think of. Fear is what keeps people ‘stuck.’ Are you ‘stuck?’

Dale Carnegie said “Fear doesn’t exist anywhere… except in the mind.” A Mindfulness practise releases those fears because you learn to accept your thoughts for what they really are… just thoughts. You learn to simply let them go… like cars passing your house. The end result is more meaningful relationships with your loved ones, your friends and work mates. When someone says ‘How ya’ goin mate’, you’ll be ‘fair dinkum’ when you say ‘Good, and you?’


New Approach to Life

Mindfulness is a new approach to life. Most of the time we are occupied with our own thoughts – thinking about what has happened in the past or imagining what might happen in the future. So much so that many of us live most of our lives on autopilot.  Through mindfulness we develop the capacity to become more aware of what is happening in our lives as they are unfolding. And we do this without coloring it with our judgments, fears, hopes, or fantasies. By reducing distractions, mindfulness helps us focus our attention, enabling us to directly experience what is happening right here, right now. After all, nothing ever happens in the past or in the future. “Now” is the only time where our lives unfold. The only moment when we are alive.

Research shows that mindfulness can prevent or reduce the severity of stress-related illnesses, including depression. Studies have shown its positive effects on the immune system, pain, chronic depression, sleep, and anxiety. Mindfulness also leads to increased levels of concentration, tranquility, and a general feeling of well-being.

Mindfulness techniques are powerful and easy to learn. Just one session could change your life forever!


The Practice of Mindfulness

Mindfulness has gained a lot of momentum in recent years mostly due to it’s significant practical application for mind, body, emotions and spirit. It is also a simple but powerful route to getting unstuck, putting us back into the drivers seat of our lives and allowing us to move beyond the limiting perspective of how we have seen ourselves and the world. This is achieved through observation, self-inquiry, and mindful action.

When we start a new practice, we must initially recognise that there are forces which seek to work against us. Our habitual unawareness seeks to reassert its dominance in our lives because remember- we have been living automatically and unconsciously in this way for many years. These are the moments that we often encounter deep seated emotional wounds and fears that lie unacknowledged within us. Yet, if we capture the sacredness of this opportunity for growth, we come to understand at a much deeper level, we appreciate our feelings and we are more empowered by them. Our wounds are no longer our Achille’s heel but the source of our greatest strength. Perhaps more importantly, the quality of our relationship with ourselves takes on a renewed meaning. We remember what it is like to fall in love with self again.


Mindfulness Definitions

There are many facets to mindfulness. These include; living in the present moment, engaging fully in what you are doing rather than getting caught up in your thoughts, allowing your feelings to be as they are, letting them come and go rather than trying to control them. When you observe your private experiences with openness and receptiveness, even the most painful thoughts, feelings, sensations and memories can seem less threatening or unbearable. In this way mindfulness can help you to transform your relationship with painful thoughts and feelings, in a way that reduces their impact and influence over your life. Here are some definitions of Mindfulness.

“Awareness of present experience with acceptance.”

“Paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment and non-judgementally.”

“Consciously bringing awareness to your here-and-now experience, with openness, interest and receptiveness.”

“The non-judgemental observation of the ongoing stream of internal and external stimuli as they arise.”

“Bringing ones complete attention to the present experience on a moment to moment basis.”

“The defused, accepting and open contact with the present moment.”

“Mindfulness is the aware, balanced acceptance of the present experience. It isn’t more complicated than that. It is opening to or receiving the present moment, pleasant or unpleasant, just as it is, without either clinging to it or rejecting it.”

“Mindfulness is simply being aware of what is happening right now without wishing it were different; enjoying the pleasant without holding on when it changes (which it will); being with the unpleasant without fearing it will always be this way (which it won’t).”


What is Mindfulness?

‘Mindfulness’ is an ancient concept, found in a wide range of spiritual and religious traditions, including most martial arts, yoga, tai chi, Buddhism, Taoism, Hinduism, Judaism, Islam, and Christianity. Gradually, over the last 30 years, Western psychology has started to recognise the many benefits of mindfulness training, and it has now become an empirically supported intervention in a wide range of clinical disorders.
‘Mindfulness’ can be defined in a variety of different ways, but they all basically come down to this: paying attention with flexibility, openness, and curiosity.
This simple definition tells us three important things. First, mindfulness is a process of awareness, not thinking. It involves paying attention to your experience in the moment as opposed to being caught up in thoughts. Second, mindfulness involves a particular attitude: one of openness and curiosity. Even if our experience in the moment is difficult, painful or unpleasant, we can be open to and curious about it instead of running from or fighting with it. Third, mindfulness involves flexibility of attention: the ability to consciously direct, broaden or focus attention on different aspects of experience. We can use mindfulness to ‘wake up,’ connect with ourselves and appreciate the fullness of each moment of life. We can use it to improve our self-knowledge – to learn more about how we feel, think and react. We can use it to connect deeply and intimately with the people we care about, including ourselves. And we can use it to consciously influence our own behaviour and increase our range of responses to the world we inhabit. It is the action of living consciously – a profound way to enhance psychological resilience and increase life satisfaction.