“When we are mindful, deeply in touch with the present moment, our understanding of what is going on deepens, and we begin to be filled with acceptance, joy, peace and love.”
― Thich Nhat Hanh
Recently I was reading an article about mindfulness while I was eating a piece of toast. As I continued to read I suddenly became very conscious of the irony of the situation, There I was eating in a way totally lacking any mindfulness whatsoever, engrossed in the internet, with thoughts of what I needed to do during the day running around in the background.
So I stopped reading and focused on the delicious food. Sourdough spelt bread toasted so that just the outside was crunchy and the centre still moist; the tang of the sourdough culture; the seeds along the edges of the crust; the sweetness of the warm butter which had soaked through into the heart.
I noticed the winter sun pouring in through the window and the small birds hopping on the branches outside. At one point I started thinking about writing this post about mindfulness, but being mindful, I put the thought aside and focused on eating the toast again.
Truly, I tasted and enjoyed that piece of toast far more deeply than many I have eaten. It was all the more delicious because I was focused in the moment.
My distraction while I was eating is completely normal. Human consciousness focuses on a lively dance between revisiting past events and anticipating the future. But learning and utilizing mindfulness can have a very positive impact on our lives as well as our health.
Mindfulness is a hot topic right now and is about mastering the art of consciously living in the present moment. It involves bringing awareness into the experience of the moment in an open and interested way. Instead of “doing” to achieve it requires us to be ”not doing”.
Embracing the energy of mindfulness and allowing it to flow into our lives and penetrate everything we do provides us the opportunity to foster the development of grace within. It deepens our capacity to live more meaningful, balanced and peaceful lives.
When we practice mindfulness we are able to see what is happening in our lives more clearly. Everyday problems do not disappear, but because we are fully present in our lives through the practice of mindfulness, we become able to respond to the pressures in a much calmer way while at the same time avoiding self-judgement and self-criticism. In so doing we benefit the health of our body, our mind and our heart.
Mindfulness is not the same as awareness. While mindfulness is all is about paying attention ‘on purpose’, awareness is only about noticing and it lacks the intent of mindfulness.
Mindfulness is an ancient practice utilized by many eastern philosophies including Buddhism, Yoga, Tai Chi and Taoism. It has been embraced in the West and is now widely taught in a non-sectarian way. It is being widely proven as an effective tool to treat many psychological clinical disorders.
Thich Nhat Hanh, a Vietnamese Buddhist monk, teacher, author, poet and peace activist, has taught the art of mindfulness for many years. He teaches mindfulness first through mindful breathing and then through Walking Meditation. It leads to a more keen awareness of all aspects of your life and the world around you. This site is a beautiful guide to Walking Meditation by Thich Nahat Hanh. I have used and would recommend the Walking Meditation Kit
Commit to cultivating mindfulness in your life in order to gain the profound, sustained benefits.
- improve focus and concentration
- a stable mind rather than one that is dull or agitated
- a flexible mind able to reduce the impact of stressful thoughts and feelings
- increased self-awareness of the contents of your mind and its patterns
- transform difficult and challenging situations by becoming less reactive
- substitute self defeating behaviours with more effective ones
“Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves -slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future.”
― Thich Nhat Hanh
“I want to live in the moment – but not this one. I was thinking of maybe one on a beach instead”
All information and opinions presented here are for information only and are not intended as a substitute for professional advice offered during a consultation. Please consult with your health care provider before trying any of the treatment suggested on this site.
© Catherine Bullard and Happy Holistic Health, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Catherine Bullard and Happy Holistic Health with appropriate and specific direction to the original content