Puedes encontrar este post en castellano en el blog de Farmàcia Serra Mandri aquí.


Can you tell me when you last allowed yourself time to meditate?

Come on!  You must have heard that mindfulness is all the rage!  No?

In just a few short years the mindfulness and meditation trend has generated a myriad of easy to use apps like Headspace that have become extremely popular (the company has sold around 7 million apps in 7 years) enticing us with their daily push notifications to take a break and consider life for a minute or ten throughout our busy days.

But what is Mindfulness and can you integrate this ancient Hindu, Buddhist and yoga meditation practice turned modern positive psychological tool into your life with just a few words?

The dictionary describes Mindfulness as:

“A mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.”

For the average person who is consumed with work, family and kids and day-to-day life the task of finding the space to give yourself a “calm acknowledgement of one’s life” seems almost impossible.

It certainly doesn’t make the daily TO DO list!  But it should.

When I first encountered meditation in my 20’s the idea was to find a quiet room, dim the lights, light a candle, put on some quiet meditative music and aromatherapy and allow myself to release my constant thoughts.

There was fat chance of that happening as a sole parent with two small boys and a building company!

It took me years to learn how to find my path to mindfulness.

Over the years I read and studied many books.   Two in particular had an important impact on my life, The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying by Sogyal Rinpoche and Scott Peck’s The Road Less Traveled.   They were very much part of my enlightenment journey but to be honest, in the end the way I was able to find my meditative self was to abandon the expectation of what I believed I had to do.

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What I learnt after years of trying was, to stop trying.

It doesn’t matter how long you meditate or the place you do it.  Those factors can help to create a meditative environment but what really matters is being in the moment.

Creating that moment of focused awareness and appreciation of your life.

My favorite is the simple action of taking a breath.   In a matter of seconds you can allow yourself the opportunity to appreciate with gratitude that you can breathe and that you are alive.

In the words of one of my favorite Buddhist monks, Thich Nhat Hahn,

“Breathe in.  I know I am breathing in.  Breathe out.  I know I am breathing out.”

It can be as simple as that.

The idea is to stop thinking and to allow your body and mind to be one.  Many of us do not even think about joining ourselves in this way.

You can find more of his wisdom in his very easy to follow meditation The Art of Mindful Living.

Here are 10 simple Mindful hints to include in your day.

  1. Make a moment every day to stop and join your mind and your body.  Just be.  You may find this might be hard to start with but persevere.  It takes practice!
  2. When you take the time connect into your breathing.  Breathe in and fill your lungs with air.  Be conscious of the action.  Breathe out and release all thoughts.  Find a rhythm in your breathing.
  3. As you go through your day be conscious of the food you eat and the water you drink.  Find gratitude for these essential things in your life.
  4. Tune into your senses.  What you taste.  What you see and hear.
  5. Be aware of the moments of love.  The joy that comes from hugging your partner, family or your child.  Appreciate the time you have with them every day.
  6. It is estimated that we have more than 50,000 thoughts a day and it is believed that up to 70% of them are negative.  When you find yourself having negative thoughts stop and go back to your breath.  Don’t waste your life on these thoughts.
  7. Listen without judgement.
  8. Find time to be in or with nature.
  9. Be grateful for your body.  Be aware when you walk and move.  Take the time to realise how amazing it feels to know the sensation of having a body.
  10. Don’t take life too seriously all the time.  Make sure you smile every day.

Mx

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