“The most precious gift we can offer anyone is our attention. When mindfulness embraces those we love, they will bloom like flowers.” –Thich Nhat Hanh
“Each place is the right place–the place where I now am can be a sacred space.” — Ravi Ravindra, The Wisdom of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras: A New Translation and Guide by Ravi Ravindra
This series of 10 mindful movements is a gentle and mindful way to start the day. The movements get progressively more difficult so don’t get all bent out of shape if you can’t do them all perfectly at first. This is about not meant to be an intense physical workout. It is about mindfulness, staying in the moment and focusing on the breath paired with body movements. Do the best you can, it will come in time.
“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).” – James Baraz
How well we have lived
How well we have loved
How well we have learned to let go”
― Jack Kornfield
―Tich Nhat Hanh, Peace in Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life
Jon Kabat-Zin PhD is a scientist, writer, and meditation teacher who works toward bringing mindfulness into mainstream medicine and society. He defines mindfulness as “paying attention in a particular way; On purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally.” As I was preparing for this month I read a number of definitions of mindfulness, but this is my favorite for it’s simplicity and straightforwardness. This is not something that should be difficult to understand, now actually putting it into practice in our modern world is another matter.
Let’s Break down this definition, shall we?
- Paying attention. I think paying attention may be becoming a lost art. We are so focused on multi-tasking and getting everything done that we may miss important details. Paying attention requires focus.
- On purpose. This is something you decide to do. You commit to paying attention and observing the present moment in a non-judgmental way.
- In the present moment. Right now. That means not thinking about what you had or dinner last night, or worrying about that work project that is due tomorrow, or even wondering if you are being in the present moment in the right way.
- Non-judgmentally. I think this is the hard one. How often do we allow life to happen without making some sort of judgment about it?
I think the easiest way to begin practicing mindfulness is a meditation where you observe your breathing. Pay attention to the air coming in…. and going out. Of course your mind will wander, just bring your attention back to your breath. Remember we are not judging, so don’t beat yourself up for wandering off, the mind just does that. Later this month we will have a video with a mindfulness of breathing meditation.
Of course this can be applied to more than just breathing. Think about how much better time with your family could be if you paid attention, on purpose, in the present moment and non-judgmentally when you were with them? Eating, walking, watching the sunrise, all become richer experiences if practiced in this way.
Yes, you will find this concept in Buddhism, don’t get all tripped up over that. Yes, I have greatly simplified it, but this is a tool and a practice that is much-needed in our world right now. Enjoy exploring mindfulness with me this month.
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“People deal too much with the negative, with what is wrong … Why not try and see positive things, to just touch those things and make them bloom?” – Thich Nhat Hanh
“People deal too much with the negative, with what is wrong … Why not try and see positive things, to just touch those things and make them bloom?”– Thich Nhat Hanh