Mindfulness is our capacity to be aware and our capacity to be present, here, now, this moment. Most of the time we are not here at all, we only imagine we are. We are either in the past or in the future.
When we were children we were all masters of mindfulness, we all lived in the present moment. We have only to stop and look at a small child at play and see how mindful they are. Watch a small child looking at a piece of fluff, see how attentive, how present, how concentrated they are. Yes, we were all mindful once and we can capture, develop and strengthen that capacity again.
We can all learn again to be mindful. One way of learning is through the discipline of meditation or by building up small daily practice that over time strengthens our capacity to be mindful people. It is by building small practices of mindfulness on a daily basis that over time we become more mindful people. These practices can take different forms. We can use our body as a way of calming and stilling the mind, the body is always in the present. We can use our breath, our senses, mindful eating or walking as ways of bringing us into the present. These are simple practices but over time they strengthen our capacity for mindfulness.
By giving our attention to our breathing, noticing as we breathe in and breathe out, we come into the present. Giving our attention to what we hear, the sounds of the moment, brings us into the present. Giving our attention to how we walk or what we eat also brings us into the present moment. These are some practices that can help us become more mindful people.
Mindfulness is a very simple and a very powerful practice and the benefits from it are immense. “Mindfulness is paying attention on purpose in a particular way in the present moment with curiosity, without judgement.” (Jon Kabat Zinn)
If you would like further information on courses in meditation and mindfulness with Sr. Stan see www.sanctuary.ie