In this post I will share with you my experience for the best way to get self help with mindfulness.
Definition of Mindfulness
Mindfulness has its origins in ancient meditation practices. According to Jon Kabat-Zinn, “mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way; on purpose, in the present moment, and non judgmentally.”
What it really is, based on my experience, is a way to drop the inner stress and pressure that I am feeling while living my daily life and a nice way to start uncovering the truth of what I really am
This truth of what we really are cannot be gotten intellectually, through the mind alone. Instead one has to have the experience of the truth in order to achieve self-realization.
Becoming more mindful leads to quieting the mind which in turn leads to answers about our true nature.
The science behind it
It is a well known fact that our minds work just like a computer. They act like storage units filled with information from our past, and recycling that information while trying to predict future occurrence of our (mostly negative) past experience.
Think about it. When was the last time you were planning for something to happen in the future without experiencing some sort of fear based sensation? Or wanting to control type of sensation? Probably never.
And when was the last time you consciously enjoyed doing a certain activity while you were doing it?
When was it that you were so fully immersed, even though it could have been something ordinary like washing the dishes or taking a shower.
Even when everything works out just fine, our mind is always trying to sell us a story about next impending danger.
The mind is not our friend.
Going on Automatic Pilot
Most of us are not living fully present to whatever is in the current moment. The attention that we are giving to whatever is happening right now is so minuscule that we can actually spend a lot of time with our body doing certain tasks while being completely oblivious about the actual action steps.
Have you ever sat in a car after a days work only to “wake up” at your destination, without even remembering how you drove there? That is what I mean by “going on automatic pilot”.
Even when we are “taking a break” our minds are constantly active, thoughts are buzzing through our awareness and we become entangled in stories, memories and preparation for various ways our security will be threatened in some future time.
The mind will never allow us to rest and enjoy what is currently happening, even when what is currently happening is pleasant.
Consider this and see for yourself if this madness is true or not.
If you don’t have money or health, your mind will make you feel fear because your security is seemingly threatened. Let’s assume that somehow you get a large amount of money, through inheritance, winning the lottery or whatever. Instead of having a peace of mind, your own mind will now try to sell you stories that you need to protect your new found wealth because you might lose it all, making you feel fear and insecurity once again.
Crazy right? It is never a win-win situation with the mind.
Why Am I Disturbed?
It is not the actual experience that I am having that is making me disturbed. It is in fact, my reaction to that experience.
It is the meaning that I have associated to whatever is happening in the moment that is making me feel out of harmony.
Following that logic, if there is a way for me to deal with the reactions that I am having to a certain situation (which is always based on some terrible story from my past or a projection of a terrible story in the future) I can then achieve peace and happiness in the present moment.
Free Mindfulness Exercises
Here are six free mindfulness exercises that you can do every time you notice that you are getting disturbed by something.
1. Being Present
Allow what is to be without judging. It is not good or bad. Good or bad are definitions of the mind.
The mind is the only thing that is always judging what is happening.
If it is good, it will try to make you feel afraid of losing it, if it is bad, it will try to make you feel resistant to experiencing it, or it will try to make you feel wanting to change it.
Let go of judging experiences as either good or bad, allow them to be as they are, without judgment.
2. Breathing Slowly
It is amazing how in situations that are stressful and towards which we have some form of a strong reaction, we simply forget to breathe. Remember to start breathing deeply and fully when you notice the disturbance approaching.
Breathe slowly from your belly. Notice the breath and feel how with every breath you become more and more present and relaxed.
3. Focusing Fully
Allow the experience that you are feeling to simply be. Imagine you are swimming into the feeling. Imagine diving in, and just give yourself permission to feel everything fully… Try to wretch it up even higher.
Check out what happens when you focus fully on what you are experiencing. Focusing fully means simply accepting what is happening in every moment to be, without wanting to change it or get rid of the experience itself.
For additional tips, I suggest you read my article on how to accept life the way it is.
4. Letting Go of Disapproval and Giving Yourself Approval
Notice that you are subconsciously disapproving of yourself. Let that go and start giving yourself approval.
Disapproval is usually subtle, meaning that sometimes it’s not that easy to notice. You need to really look for it.
Here is a hint, if you are feeling miserable in any way shape or form, chances are you are probably disapproving of yourself.
Disapproving is just a decision. And it’s one of the things that you are doing to yourself.
Realization that I am the only one disapproving of myself is a good thing because if I am responsible for that decision and I am doing that for myself, that also means I can change my decision and do something completely different.
Try it and see how you feel after you spend some time giving yourself approval.
Reasons for disapproval could be sometimes subtle to notice. Sometimes we develop a habit of simply hating our life and everything in it.
For additional inquiry I suggest you read my article on the main reason for hating your life.
5. Recognizing That Disturbance Always Leaves
Notice that disturbance comes and goes, and instead try to notice what is it that stays.
What is that which is always present while the experiences (disturbances) appear and then disappear?
What is that, which never leaves or goes anywhere? What is that which allows for all experiences to be?
It must be something that is not touched in any way by the experiences currently happening.
Could that mean that the disturbance doesn’t have the real and lasting influence on me after all?
Does disturbance simply come and go like waves?
Do a self-inquiry with those questions and see what you come up with.
6. Surrendering to Beingness
Surrender everything to Beingness, allow Beingness to be your best friend and take care of your Mind.
This one is not that easily explained, it needs to be experienced. It is similar to a saying “let go and let God”.
It’s recognizing that there is something much bigger than my limited ego, something that is always looking for my best interest, and something that can help me if and when I decide to allow it to help me.
All of the above techniques can make you become mindful if you practice them fully.
But my experience was that I was not able to achieve that in every case, frankly my life consisted of too many things that stressed me out, made me angry or simply afraid.
I realized I need to take a much more concentrated approach to achieving mindfulness, so I searched for alternative solutions that could help me.
That is how I discovered a technique that taught me how to have direct experience of mindfulness, and much more.
The Best Way to Experience Mindfulness
All of us have the ability to experience the present moment. It is done by dropping the mind.
The best way for me to experience mindfulness and the strongest physical and emotional experience that I ever got was from practicing this technique.
Beside becoming more and more mindful, it also helped me deal with a bunch of other issues. I strongly recommend that you try it out and see if it will do the same for you.
Feel free to share your own experience with mindfulness below.
See you all of a sudden!
Images courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net