This years' learning task is the Buddhist way of mindfulness and meditation.
OK, so you've now got an image in your mind of someone sitting on the floor in the Lotus position, with their hands stuck out at an awkward angle gently hummimg 'Omm'
Well, if that's your thing, then go do it, but it's not what mindfulness is about, and not the only way to meditate. Meditation is about freeing your mind and learning to focus on the here and now; and the way to do this is by following the 9 steps to Mindfulness.
Let me explain further........................
Focus on the Present Moment—When your thoughts get lost in thinking about the past or worrying about the future, you bring them back to what you are experiencing right now. You try to remain open to how things unfold in the present, rather than having preconceived ideas about how things will or should turn out.
Being Fully Present—You are spaciously aware of whatever you are experiencing in the present moment as you go through your daily life. What do you feel in your body? What are you seeing, hearing, doing - right now?
Openness to Experience—Rather than dreading and shutting out your own feelings and experiences because you think you can't handle them, you welcome with curiosity any thoughts and feelings that naturally arise, knowing they are merely sensations in the moment and the next moment can be different. You create mental spaciousness to contain these thoughts and feelings. Become aware of your experience as a flow of sensations, thoughts, and feelings and watch how these change and transform naturally over time.
Non-Judgment—You don't categorize your thoughts and feelings as good or bad, try to change them, or feel compelled to act on them. All feelings have a purpose, whether to protect you from danger or open you to love. You watch and accept whatever arises in consciousness with an open mind. You extend this non-judging attitude to other people and things.
Acceptance of Things as They Are—You don't try to force or change reality to fit your vision of what it should be, feel like a victim, or bemoan the unfairness of life. Instead, you try to see reality clearly and let it be as it is, knowing that you can tolerate whatever it is that comes up. You extend this acceptance to others, knowing they are the best judges of what is right for them.
Connection—You feel connected to all living things and nature in being part of a larger whole. You reflect on and feel grateful for the cycle of life and the food, beauty, and protection that nature gives us. You know that all living beings want to feel happy and secure and avoid suffering and you feel connected by similarity of needs and experience.
Non-Attachment—You do not try to hold onto things, people, or experiences, knowing that life is in constant flow. Attachment comes from fear and is the basis of suffering. You learn to surf the wave of life, going with the flow and being confident in your own ability to adapt. When one door closes, another opens.
Peace and Equanimity—You maintain an even-keel, not getting too swept up in life's highs and lows. You know that life is a cycle and you can't see the whole picture at any one moment. When things don't go your way, you stay firmly rooted in your own clear vision and values. You walk with a peaceful heart and adopt a non-harming, non-violent attitude.
Compassion—You deal gently, kindly, and patiently with yourself and others. Rather than judging, or condemning, you open your heart to really listen and try to understand your own and other people's experiences. You allow yourself to feel other people's suffering. You love people not for what they can give you or because you need something from them, but because you connect and empathize with their experiences.
If you've been reading this blog, you will have already seen that one of my favourite pieces of prose is Max Ehrmann's 'Desiderata' - and how well that sits with the whole mindfulness experience!
Even if you have no desire to follow the Buddhist way, it's still worthwhile trying some of the mindfulness ideas. Even eminent psychologists recommend it as a way of calming the mind and the self-state. Dang me, one university is even offering a degree in Mindfulness!
Oops, sorry for such a long post, but I hope you've persevered with reading it, and tried to understand
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