The central idea behind mindfulness is focusing on your current experience and being in the ‘here and now’. Quite often we find ourselves in ‘automatic pilot’ mode. Mindfulness is the opposite of ‘automatic pilot’ mode – it’s all about the ‘being’ mode. It takes some time to develop but with patience and a little practice every day, you will start to enjoy the benefits of bringing yourself back into the here and now.
The best part? It doesn’t need to take very long at all; a few minutes on the train on the way in to work, driving in the car or waiting for a meeting to commence, mindfulness can be practiced anywhere.
Steps to Practising Mindfulness
- The first step in practising mindfulness is moving into the observing mode, rather than the thinking mode. To do this, we rely on our senses; our sense of touch, sight, sound, smell and taste. Start with one sense (we’ll start with touch) and move your focus through each sense, one at a time.
- Think about the feel of the chair that you are sitting on, the pen in your hand, the desk that you are leaning against, the air on your skin, the clothes on your skin, noticing everything that you can feel or touch at that point in time.
- Next, move onto what you can hear…start with the room that you are in. Is there a clock ticking? Can you hear the air conditioning? The hum of your computer?
- Then move outside the room you are in, can you hear voices, the murmur of a conversation, doors opening and closing, papers being shifted, chairs moving in or out? Slowly move outside the building you are in. Can you hear cars driving, car doors opening and closing, trucks reversing, a plain flying overhead, wind, rain?
- Finally, you can move on to what you can see, paying attention to all the little things around you that you may not have ever noticed before. What’s on your desk? What is in the room? What colours can you see? What shapes and shadows do you notice?
Mindfulness is not designed for evaluation or judgement of your experiences. Try not to say whether they are good or bad, right or wrong, and avoid trying to control the environment you are in. The idea is to just experience the moment fully, using each one of your senses. Your mind will want to take control, to force you to think about other things that take you away from the ‘being’ mode. Don’t stress when this occurs, just gently guide yourself back to the present moment and continue to use your senses with a gentle and slow curiosity.
Even if you only master it for a few minutes each day, you will start to feel the benefits of being present in the moment, and you will find that you are able to do it more often, for longer periods of time.
Want to Learn More?
Mindfulness can be more advanced that a sensory experience. If you want to learn more, attend our mindfulness in practice classes each Wednesday at 6pm.