Mindfulness is based on this: Whatever you are paying attention to in the present moment will have the biggest impact on your experience of the present moment.
It’s the weekend and you’ve been feeling stressed by and about work. Even if you like your job (and sometimes especially because you like your job) you need a break, so you take yourself to the country and you sit by a lake in the woods.
You sit down in these surroundings hoping that either the stress you feel will dissipate into this vast open space, or that this vast open space will bathe you with peace and calm and mellow you. You’ll feel better either way.
Breathe in the fresh air. Feel the just-right temperature on your skin. Watch how the light plays across the surface water, twinkling now and then when something causes movement on the surface. Listen to the different bird songs, some nearby, some further away. You might look up at the vast blue sky and notice a fluffy white cloud floating here or there. If you watch closely enough and long enough, you might notice the cloud slowly moving and changing its shape. Perhaps you can feel the slight breeze that slowly moves and changes the cloud or rustles the leaves in the trees just a little.
… and you’ll have one kind of experience…
Remember that difficult challenge at work that happened a while ago or is currently stressing you when you are at work. Or anticipate an upcoming challenge. Think about what makes it so challenging. Think about how much you dislike it and what it’s going to cost you dealing with it, maybe time, energy, effort, sometimes money. Think about the time constraints and how there is never enough time to get things done, or to do them right, or how you have to work overtime sometimes or too often. Think about the materials and resources you need and where you’re going to get them, how you’re going to get them, and whether you can get them. Think about who’s making you do this. Is it a particular person or a position like manager, administrator, or boss, or is it your own sense of perfection, duty, responsibility. Think about how angry or frustrated or depressed you are about whoever is making you do this, even if it’s you.
… and you’ll have another kind of experience.
Mindfulness will help you develop skills to notice where your attention is and to have a choice about whether to leave your attention where it is or to redirect your attention (either changing, expanding or narrowing your focus) to some aspect of your experience that better serves you – serves to help calm you if you want or need more calm, energize you if you want or need more energy, focus more if you want or need more focus, etc.
Mindfulness is paying friendly attention to our present time experiences with curiosity, openness, and a willingness to be with what is as it is.
You can use meditation to help you develop mindfulness.
FREE Intro to Mindfulness & Meditation
Tuesday, March 14, 2017 from 7-8:30 PM
Mindfulness and meditation have been shown to be effective in reducing stress, anxiety, depression, chronic pain, anger, attention problems and more. With as little as 20 minutes of practice a day, Mindfulness can help you overcome psychological and emotional suffering and increase satisfaction and wellbeing.
In this Introduction you will:
- Learn what Mindfulness is and how mindfulness can help you individually, in your relationships, in your school or work life and more.
- Learn the differences between mindfulness and meditation.
- Learn how meditation can help you develop the skills of mindfulness.
- Learn why group practice with others is especially helpful.
- Sample an introductory guided mindfulness meditation.
- Have answers to your questions about mindfulness and meditation and how they might provide some relief from suffering.
- Suggestions for beginning or continuing a practice.