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It’s estimated that we let our minds wander aimlessly for about 50% of our waking moments either ruminating about the past or projecting into the future with what if’s.
Added to this, time gets swallowed up as we go about our day in and out of auto-pilot where we become mindlessly unaware of what we are doing.
Have you ever set off on a journey and arrived at your destination only to realise you have no recollection of travelling, but you got there all the same and your presence of mind returns?
You flip in and out of these rare mindful moments where you are fully engaged in your present experience, you feel aware of some of your senses and the environment around you but before you know it you’re back in habitual auto-pilot. We return to our lives lived inside our heads, mindlessly lost in thought with endless internal chatter about what needs to be done and how we’re going to accomplish it. Attention is soon absorbed by all this clutter and it’s usually accompanied by the inner critic whispering garbage at you and overloading us with stress.
We all know the mind body connection and that too much stress leads to poor health. The thing is the mind is really good at shaping itself to what it already knows and to what it is given. The mind will only go in the direction you tell it to go, so you need to make sure you are going in the right direction. Don’t misunderstand me; there are a lot of great ideas that emerge from all types of thinking but if you’re going to spend a lot of time in your head then it needs to be a good place to be.
Types of Mindfulness and meditations have been practised in different cultures for thousands of years and it’s now internationally recognised in many organisations to include health, education and business. The beauty of Mindfulness is that it can be practised anywhere and all you need is yourself, an intention with a desire to see life with a fresh perspective.
Start with a beginner’s mind and be curious to what might enfold. The intention is to withhold judgement, the need to label and simply let your awareness begin to show up. Mindfulness teaches us to stay in touch with our values and the environment, it will remind you to notice when you’re going off course and learn to respond rather than react.
Consistent practice allows you to be the observer of your thoughts, emotions and sense perceptions as they arise but without having to get caught up and swept away by them. Becoming the observer re-trains the brain and we are less likely to play out old habitual ways of thinking, opening up choice and a new freedom in our lives. Give it a try and enjoy the moment!