The Mindful Life
Entering into a new year always holds promise and expectation. It gives us the opportunity to recalibrate our life, to decide on a course of action and set out new goals and resolutions. There is often an air of optimism that pervades our body and mind, enabling us to feel confident that we can achieve something special.
If we bring mindfulness into the mix and the heightened awareness that that ensures, it means we can consciously create and construct the life we aspire to live. ‘The Mindful Life’ is a life that flows harmoniously and peacefully because we have the resilience to remain unperturbed by the many twists and turns that our life takes. ‘Setbacks’ are seen as opportunities, not in some superficial attempt to ‘think positively’, rather because we know, beyond doubt, that everything always works out. Life may not always be as we envisioned, however with the inner confidence and deep trust in our self and the process of life that comes from regular mindfulness practice, life is able to flow. As we get out of the way of life, as we sidestep our ego, and come increasingly into alignment with the flow of the present, life unfolds organically and ‘perfectly’.
True optimism comes from the confidence that ‘all will be well’ because ‘all is well’ in this moment. Through practice and over time we build and strengthen the psychological flexibility and emotional resilience that enables us to face challenges and create solutions. We become more resilient because we have developed the ‘true’, inner confidence that comes from learning to trust our self and our intuitive capacity, to ‘know’ beyond doubt, and therefore let go of ‘second guessing’ which simply confuses and obfuscates.
Eight years ago, when I first started researching and practising mindfulness I realised it was about so much more than its efficacy to ‘simply’ reduce stress and anxiety. Naturally, that is often the starting point, the point of entry, for many of us. If life is ‘comfortable’ (i.e. there is no crisis – inner or outer) we rarely seek to find deeper joy, fulfilment and flow. Developing and maintaining a calm inner landscape through the practice is pivotal to our health in general. At a physical level it strengthens our immune system, whilst psychologically and emotionally enabling us to achieve a relaxed sense that everything is unfolding perfectly, that everything is flowing. It is from this psycho-emotional state of a complete lack of anxiety and tension that we are able to flourish and enjoy life fully, in each moment.
So the practice offers us a choice. We can stop at ‘taming our amygdala’, which is responsible for the fight-flight-freeze’ response and our increased levels of stress and anxiety, or we can continue with the practice beyond ‘mere’ relaxation to experience optimum health and wellbeing, to truly flourish! The Mindful Life is a life lived to the full, where every moment, however simple is enjoyed with gratitude. When we achieve this, we truly value our body, our mind, and all of the people and events that constitute The Mindful Life!