Mindfulness”  has become a new buzz word.

FlowerMeditation and Mindfulness are like clogs on a wheel. They are part and parcel of awareness.  Mindfulness is like the little sister of meditation.  She needs only short, frequent exercise.  The big brother meditation is like a body builder who increases the weight and number of repetitions over time to gain muscular strength.

Someone new to meditation spends say 5 minutes paying attention to their breath.  Over time that person is able to spend 20 minutes in and out of a singular focus.  Both of these practices have similar benefits.  Reducing levels of cortisol and other stress hormones, lowering blood pressure and stress reactivity as well as circulating youth enhancing positive hormones.

In Daniel Goleman’s Linkedin in article, “What Mindfulness is – And Isn’t” he describes how our mind is designed to wander.  Based on a Harvard study, Goleman writes,  “In fact the mind is wired to wander about 50% of the time…”  This idea that successful meditation or even successful mindfulness is based on stopping the activity of the mind is erroneous and sets up a false expectation.  We have all had the experience of being in the moment.  We are in singular focus and may not even hear the sounds around us.  When this happens it is a lovely experience.  Meditators will tell us that the discipline of “sitting” for a named period of time is the key to successful meditation.  Yes, the mind wanders.  Yes, that one item on your to do list all of a sudden becomes the most important detail of your life.  Yes, you must get up right now.  However, the practice of letting that thought go, and letting the next thought go for that determined, set time is what is the key.  The moment that you feel at peace, even for a few seconds, is the reward for your efforts.

It is how something makes us feel that is the true litmus test of the innate value of that activity.  Even if we don’t make time to sit and meditate, we can enhance our lives by being mindful.  I have written about “witness consciousness” in my earlier blog, Youth Enhancing Moments.  I have noticed that I repeat thoughts.  If these are past or negative thoughts I use a simple mindfulness technique I borrowed from Lisa Wimberger’s Neurosculpting.  First step, I notice that I am entertaining a repeated thought.  In my mind I spell out the word, “R E L E A S E” and tap my body with my non dominate hand.  It is a simple technique to disassociate from the non productive, repeated thought.  You can decide to use the word, “release”, “let go”, “enough”; whatever word has the most meaning to you.

If mindfulness or meditation are interests, I highly recommend Jon Kabat Zinn’s Sounds True audio program, “The Mindfulness Revolution”.  He describes the ability to be mindful as fundamental to the human experience and not a anomaly.  He goes on in this audio interview to say:  “The fundamental question facing all human beings: “Who are we?”  “What are we doing here?” “What is the meaning, calling, purpose of a body life lived?”  When we use the word, “mindfulness” we are referring to a way of being, a way of paying attention that leads to a more robust capacity to live inside of our awareness as opposed to being caught up in discursive thinking and emotional reactivity which is often blinding. This leads to a great deal of suffering or a sense of being lost, confused or out of touch with what is most fundamental. My work over the last 32 years, demonstrates that regular people are capable of training to a point that transforms the way they actually are in their internal and external experience.”  He says it all so perfectly!

real face.2 Whispers of the Breath Diva:

In this moment I am alive, awake and aware!