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.