Awareness is the Key to Change…
Mindfulness is complete engagement with the present moment, which enables authentic connection to our self, others and our lived experience. It is the ability to focus and engage life with curiosity, interest, and impartiality. Mindfulness is the key to success because the particular, enhanced awareness that it develops enables us to integrate the aspects of our self that prevent us from attaining our fullest potential and wellbeing.
Mindfulness is a ‘skills set’ that is developed using a tried and tested meditation technique to train the brain. It is now known that the brain is not a fixed entity and that it is possible to alter our neurochemistry – the term given to this is ‘neuroplasticity’. Science has proved that as a result of practising mindfulness meditation new neuronal pathways are formed and reinforced in the brain. Through the repetition of practice it is possible to develop beneficial ‘states’ of mind that lead to and embed more permanent character ‘traits’. In short, we are able to change our experience of life by training our brain to function more effectively.
Mindfulness also works at a physiological level initiating a ‘relaxation response’. In this process muscle tension is alleviated, the heart rate lowers and blood pressure reduces, the respiratory rate falls and we breathe more deeply and efficiently increasing the flow of oxygen around the body, including the brain. Essentially, the practice is holistic and benefits us at the physical, psychological and emotional levels.
The meditation technique is a simple process that can be learned and practised by each of us. Typically, it requires that we focus on the in-breath and the out-breath, mentally scan through our physical body, listen to sounds, or observe our thoughts. Essentially, the practice requires and develops our ability to concentrate, and our ability to observe phenomena impartially. The process develops greater awareness and acceptance, which in turn foster a positive mental attitude helping us to re-frame and benefit from our all of our experiences.
The skills learned through the discipline of the formal meditation practice can be applied to any activity in our personal and professional life. Mindfulness brings a quality of consideration to our actions, which ensures greater engagement and fulfilment because attention is undivided and we are truly present and genuinely connected with the task at hand. Essentially, we create an inner stillness or peace that permeates the whole of our experience. Meditate now
“I like to define mindfulness as the energy that helps us to be there 100 percent. It is the energy of your true presence”
Thich Nhat Hanh (2011) Your True Home