Author: Dr David McMurtry
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is being consciously aware of what is happening now, in the present, without distraction or preference. Being mindful (having present moment awareness), is an innate, natural tendency and ability that everyone has. Mindfulness is also a practice, something we do. We all get distracted and lose our focus. Mindfulness allows us to maintain our awareness and attention in the present, and not be distracted and disturbed by repeating patterns of thought and emotion (rumination). Mindfulness meditation is practiced by children, young people and adults.
Mindfulness as taught by Mindfulness Hrvatska, is a secular and not a religious practice. It does not involve or require a commitment to any particular religion, beliefs, ideologies, lifestyle or organisation. The theory and practices of mindfulness do however draw upon religions (and other wisdom traditions) as well as science, particularly biology, psychology and the neuro-sciences. Globally, the practice of mindfulness is making a positive difference in communities and society, for example, in business, in education and in health and social care. Our approach emphasises the importance to mindfulness of developing kindness and compassion for self and for others.
The Benefits of Practicing Mindfulness:
1) Enhanced health and well being
Numerous research studies indicate many health benefits of regularly practicing mindfulness and meditation. These benefits encompass physical as well as mental, health and well-being.
2) Greater efficiency and effectiveness
Developing present moment awareness through practicing mindfulness can result in less distraction and the ability to be more focused upon our intentions. This can enable us to achieve our aims and goals with greater efficiency and effectiveness.
3) Self knowledge
Practicing mindfulness can lead to insight and understanding, not only of the human mind in general, but of our own unique mind in particular. We begin to see more clearly our patterns of thinking and habitual responses to arising thoughts and emotions. We understand more fully how these patterns affect and inform our relationships, our attitudes and our behaviour. Practicing mindfulness makes positive change more possible.
The Many Meanings of Mindfulness
How to Begin To Practice Mindfulness
- Find somewhere indoors or outdoors that is pleasant and where you are unlikely to be disturbed.
- Adjust your sitting posture so you are both comfortable and alert.
- Sit with your eyes open or closed. If open, gaze downwards with a soft gaze.
- Now relax and let go of any tension or stress you may be holding in your mind and body. Find a feeling of ease and sit for a few minutes allowing a feeling of well-being to arise.
- Without trying to stop thoughts, try not to engage with them. Allow thoughts to arise in your mind, observe or notice them, and see them leave. Also be aware of feelings and emotions as they arise, and again try not to engage with them – do not think about them, just observe or notice them as they come and go.
- If you are distracted and start to think (as you will inevitably be, as this is what our mind is used to doing), when you are aware of this (and have regained your awareness), with an attitude of kind acceptance, return to observing or noticing whatever arises both within and around you, trying not to engage.
- When you feel you have done this practice for long enough, stretch, take a few deeper breaths, and return to activity.
- Repeat as often as you wish to.