What is Mindfulness?
How can Mindfulness help me?
Do you find it hard to concentrate on one thing at a time? Would you like to be a more patient and ‘present’ person?
Mindfulness is a state that is quite natural in humans but is ‘unlearnt’ as we become more entangled in a hectic lifestyle or engage in (attempting) to multi-task. It is a single-pointed focus that can lead to a more vivid experience of whatever we are doing right at that moment. Mindfulness is a habit that can grow to encompass any activity in our life and help us do them more consciously. In other words, you can mindfully eat, walk, breathe, work or roller-skate.
What does Mindfulness do?
Evidence suggests that mindfulness may lead to sharper focus, more energy and a deeper sense of relaxation. It can enable us to set aside nagging thoughts and enable the brain to work on problems without driving ourselves utterly mad.
However, the belief that meditation or mindfulness is a way to silence the mind is a misconception. Mindfulness is all about learning to direct our attention to our experience as it unfolds, moment by moment, with open-minded curiosity and acceptance. Rather than worrying about what has happened or might happen, it trains us to respond skilfully to whatever is happening right now, be that good or bad. When we first sit still, like a freshly poured glass of Coke, our mind bubbles restlessly and tuning in to that can be frustrating, alarming, or even depressing. However, over time, the knowledge that we can watch our thoughts and feelings without having to follow the urges they inspire in us can be a deeply empowering awareness.
One final note on the difference between Mindfulness and Meditation: the latter usually refers to techniques practiced by a religious group or organisation. Paul Silk does not teach a mindfulness practice that requires a belief, or the need to follow any religious or spiritual system or dogma. For more information about the differences you may find this article interesting
What mindfulness practices does Paul Silk teach?
Zhan Zhuang (standing meditation)
.b Mindfulness in Schools Project (MISP)