Do you know about mindfulness?

One of the best definitions of mindfulness comes from Jon Kabat-Zinn, the founder of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, who says that Mindfulness is “paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally, to the unfolding of experience moment to moment. “

Why would this be relevant in our work and everyday lives when interacting with others???

The Automatic Pilot

According to Michael Baime, MD, even though we have always been right here, in this life, we often don’t notice. We can live in a kind of “automatic pilot” mode, where we travel through our days without really paying attention to much of anything. We get in our car and drive home from work, and when we get out of the car at the other end of the commute its almost as if it didn’t happen. It is sort of like sleepwalking, except when it happens, we seem to be completely awake and we aren’t wearing pajamas. Nobody would suspect that we are barely there. Almost nobody notices, maybe because they’re on automatic pilot, too. And sometimes it doesn’t seem to matter so much. But then, at other times it is the only thing that does matter. Baime puts it this way: “Maybe somebody we care for needs our attention, and we don’t notice. Maybe they are disappointed or hurt at first, but after a while they learn to accept that nobody is paying attention, and eventually they might even stop trying. Or maybe it is a gorgeous day, but we don’t even see what is right in front of us. Spend enough time on automatic pilot and life begins to feel more shallow. Everything is here, but yet…something is missing.”

I also like this definition of mindfulness from Thich Nhat Hanh:“Mindfulness is the energy of being aware and awake to the present moment. It is the continuous practice of touching life deeply in every moment of daily life. To be mindful is to be truly alive, present and at one with those around you and with what you are doing. We bring our body and mind into harmony while we wash the dishes, drive the car or take our morning shower.”

So to feel more alive, to feel refreshed and available for others, explore mindfulness. My favorite Mindfulness people to learn from are Jon Kabat-Zinn and Thich Nhat Hanh. Start with these two to get a solid and true foundation and explore further – there are many, many practitioner teachers.

Find Jon Kabat-Zinn, the founder of mindfulness-based stress reduction at www.mindfulnesscds.com

And a good talk on YouTube at www.youtube.com/watch?v=3nwwKbM_vJc

Thich Nhat Hanh,  zen master, is a global spiritual leader, poet and peace activist, revered throughout the world for his powerful teachings and bestselling writings on mindfulness and peace.

Here is a description and list of various mindfulness practices to explore: http://plumvillage.org/mindfulness-practice/
And a talk about mindfulness of the body  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x-LhSC7JCVw

Also you can google mindfulness apps for your phone or computer like the one minute bell of mindfulness:

Here’s a nice 5 minute bell guided meditation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wGFog-OuFDM
Trouble sleeping? Here is a 3 hour meditation sounds video with Tibetin Bells and nature sounds. Sweet dreams: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KeCB8G98XFI&list=RDKeCB8G98XFI#t=0

That’s enough to get started – enjoy the journey of mindfulness. Enjoy what it brings to your ability to be present in your own life, too feel alive, relaxed and alert, and present with yourself and others.

Also, let yourself know when you need not be so rigidly mindful – there are times when we need to daydream, to be disassociated and not in control of our minds, to allow creativity and randomness bring in the new. Find the balance. In general, I find that most people live on autopilot most of the time in our busy, demanding culture – so incorporating more mindfulness is wonderfully helpful.

Start with one minute of mindfulness every hour. Nothing formal. Simple. Notice your breath and your internal world, or bring your awareness to one of your senses in particular. Just that. One minute. Then continue with what you are called to do. Explore what this is like for you.