Mindfulness training teaches us to cultivate a new way of being with reality. But how?
The most effective answer is through practice.
However, here is a brief and powerful way to help you cultivate your ability to stay in the present and free from the mind running away with you.
The following are called ‘The Mechanisms of Mindfulness’ and a simple way to return to the now, no matter what. They work interactively and not as a step-by-step structure, but if it helps, you can begin this way.
The Mechanisms of Mindfulness
Set your Intention.
Taking a moment to become clear on your intention helps you connect and stay focused on why you are doing what you are doing. Your intention is your motive.
Place your Attention on your intention.
When you are clear on your intention, you have somewhere meaningful to place your attention. This helps you stay focused and present in what matters at any moment, no matter what’s present. In this way, you support yourself to respond instead of react.
Hold an Attitude of Mindfulness.
Here are the nine attitudes of Mindfulness according to Jon Kabat-Zinn.
Non-judging, patience, beginner’s mind/curiosity, trust, non-striving, acceptance, letting go, gratitude and generosity.
Practising placing your attention with a mindful attitude helps you to stay open and present to what’s here. It liberates you from preconceptions that may limit your perception and resource to respond skilfully.
Now let’s put this into an everyday, real-life example.
This morning I was reading a book. While reading the words on the page, my mind chattered away with thoughts like ‘Hilary, keep an eye on the weather, the clothes are on the line’ – and – ‘You’re supposed to write a blog post today; best get cracking’ – and – ‘what day is it again?’
It went on and on. Meanwhile, I re-read sentence after sentence.
Taking a breath, I paused and set my intention.
‘I love these guys (Paul Gilbert and Choden, Mindful Compassion). So, I intend to absorb their wisdom on these pages for twenty minutes and be present with the words.’
As I began to read again and the random thoughts danced through my mind, I anchored my attention on my intention. This changed the whole experience. I became one with the book, my attention focused, and my mind quietened as my curiosity grew while absorbing the words on the page. I was not striving or judging, and I was patient with myself and the dancing thoughts.
In those moments, everything became lighter. There was ease and flow, and I was focused.
And for what it’s worth, the clothes dried; here is the blog, and it has been Tuesday all day.
I hope the mechanisms of mindfulness help you to cultivate presence in your everyday experience. If so, I would love to hear about your experiences, so feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or if you are reading this on social media, leave a comment below.
Also, if you would like to embark on mindfulness training, let me know at email@example.com, and I will keep you updated on upcoming courses and training.
Wishing you presence and wellness,