Musing on Mindfulness

Mindfulness seems to be the new buzzword popping up everywhere, Schools, Hospitals and local community centres. Mindfulness is a translation from the Sanskrit word Sati, meaning to be in the moment and aware of the present.  It seems a contradiction that the translation was interpreted as mindfulness as opposed to mindlessness or perhaps Embodied Living might be better again.  To be practising present moment awareness in any scenario, all our senses need to be engaged.

An ability to receive our immediate surroundings requires us to listen, perhaps taste, feel, intuit and where the mind becomes useful interpret.  When all our senses are engaged, it is not possible for the mind to dominate.  Practise this for some time on a regular basis and we come to trust and depend more on our other senses which makes us more whole and content.  We become embodied and return more to our child like state.    We have all experienced how joyful it is to be around children for their natural acceptance of others and total immersion in the moment.  There are simple tools available to us to begin mindfulness meditation, namely the breath, observation of sensation and intention.  Common pitfalls of achieving any state of quietness or embodiment are expectation, judgment and wrong intention.

It is not a case of sitting down because you want to quieten the mind.  We sit down to see how we are? Where we are at in this moment?

It is not a case of getting up and saying it won’t work my mind is just too busy.  It is a case of having the Persistence and Patience to listen to your busy mind until it tires all the while using your breath, like you are soothing a child.

To be ‘mindful’ is to sit and allow ourselves to exist without judgment, to feel, to think without hanging onto any of those thoughts or feelings.

Meditation is a technique used to achieve mindfulness or mindlessness.  It is the technique of being present and being able to sit for periods of time with sustained focus.  The intention is important.  In my personal practise the closer I get to a state of deep meditation the more embodied and involved I feel with my surroundings and where the lines of separation fade away.  In our heads we become separate and lonely, but when we are in our feeling perceptive bodies we know this to be false and all living things are interconnected.

Without a doubt this new mindfulness movement is the result of societies increasing isolation due to Mind Full Ness and Mind Less Ness in dealing with the sensitivities and complexities of an Organic Living Whole Planet.  Common culprits well spouted now are TV, Computer Games, Social Media, lack of movement and outdoor activity.  There are also the long commutes to work and a temptation for the convenient lifestyle.  The very act of collecting firewood, growing a few vegetables, keeping a few animals, supporting a communal garden, maintaining your own house, walks in nature to connect and slow down, all this is survival.  We are part of a collective consciousness, and therefore are limited to changes based on the status quo.  Therefore we all need to be moving together ……”a conscious revolution” as Russell Brand terms it well.  Mindfulness is an example of this.

Siobhán has been practising Vipassana Meditation (The Art of Stillness) since 1998.

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