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What does being “Mindful” really mean?

One of my great inspirations in the world of Mindfulness Meditation is Jon Kabat-Zinn and I was fortunate enough to train with him with him for a week last year just outside New York. For those of you who don’t know who he is please look him up. He is often referred to as the “Father of Mindfulness.”

Jon Kabat-Zinn meeting Pema Chödrön for the first time in person at my retreat

Jon’s definition of Mindfulness:

“Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally.”

 

From my experience I have learnt that that Mindfulness can only happen here and now. It is not about the future and what could happen. It means bringing your attention and awareness to everything and everyone around you.

For example, as you read this article if your mind starts to wander, you can bring it back to the now by taking a breath and paying attention to it in your own relaxed pace and rhythm. That is being “mindful”.

Life has always been full of ups and downs for me and because I have learnt to be more mindful in my everyday life, I have been able to navigate my own our way through the ups and downs without such intense feelings. This is one of the many beautiful gifts that Mindfulness has given me.

Another one of my favourite quotes from Jon Kabat Zinn:

“You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.”

As you expand your practice of mindfulness you will find that you will stop labelling things in your life. For example, that was “boring”, “painful” etc. You can learn to observe them and move on. You do need to follow my3 Ps:Perseverance, Persistence and Patience. If you are going to the gym and you need to build up muscle, you give yourself time and you persevere. Learning to be mindful is the same. It requires you to be persistent and patient with yourself as it does not happen overnight.

One little tip and something for you to try is to be non-judgemental in your own thoughts, feelings and beliefs. It can be hard sometimes to let things be just as they are. Try and breathe without questioning or trying to fix anything. This can be quite liberating. I used to stress about some things that appeared to be “wrong “or “unfair”. If I can just relax and accept them as they are this is extremely liberating. My mind relaxes and so does my body. I am a much happier person to be around. My whole energy changes.

Mindfulness in my opinion also needs to be experienced rather than described. For that reason, let’s get you started. Download my Mindfulness Meditations here: Zen Warrior Mindfulness for Adults

Please try and do theses meditations for a few weeks. Immerse yourself and FEEL the difference!

All the best,

Alison

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