Week Two- Personal Experience of Practicing Mindfulness
The first thing I noticed when I woke up this morning were my thought’s, I barely had time to open my eye’s until I was bombarded with my thought’s, negative thought’s, judgmental thought’s and what I should and should not be doing thought’s. STOP !!!! I called out in that moment……
…….and then, there was silence………..It was very empowering, the fact that I even recognized that this was happening was extremely liberating. I realized in that moment that I actually had control over these thought’s, and so I just let them go. I’m not saying that I suddenly realized that “I had control over my thoughts” for the very first time, I’m just saying that it’s the first time in a while that I have actually acted upon this realization. I actually made the decision in that moment to activity take part in this decision, this choice. I had made the commitment of allowing myself to fully embrace this 8 week course of mindfulness. It seems very simple but in fact it is not that simple at all. It’s only now since I’ve started this course that I am becoming more aware of my thought’s. I am learning to notice them, catching myself in that moment before my mind begins to run away with all these thought’s. It’s almost like a muscle that I’m learning to use for the first time, the more I use it the more it grows and develops.
It might sound strange, but it almost feels like a sickness of the mind. It’s only now that I’m coming to realize that I have been living with these thought’s, this racing mind, and it has started to spiral out of control. When I look back over the last 18 months, I realize that it had actually been quite a stressful year. This “racing mind syndrome” has been gnawing away at me over the last 18 months and the scary thing is, is that I wasn’t even aware of it.
This week I am practicing the “breath awareness” meditation. I notice that when I am fully relaxed and in the moment that I am breathing into my tummy area, an exercise that I have practiced many time’s and taught in my stress management classes. But then I noticed my thought’s creeping in, these thought’s were usually in relation to something I needed to do later, something I might have been worried about and in those moments I noticed that my breath would shift from my tummy to my chest, a perfect example of how stress effects our breathing. I had gone from being relaxed and breathing fully and consciously into my tummy at one moment, to my tummy actually tightening as I experienced these racing thought’s, and my tummy was actually tense in those moments.
As the week progresses to day 3 I notice that I feel happier within myself. I feel I am beginning to learn how to have more control over my thought’s. I can just notice these thoughts, whether they are negative or optimistic, there need not be any judgement. Just notice them and let them go. I’m not allowing myself to get sucked into my “racing mind syndrome” for the most part. I’m also more aware of where I might be holding tension in my body, and I now have a new understanding of how my “racing mind syndrome” was draining my energy. Quite literally sucking the life out of me.
I even felt more relaxed in relation to having to practice these meditations everyday, in fact I now look forward to them because I have a deeper connection with myself during these moments. Even if my mind does drift away from time to time, I don’t need to get annoyed and “try” to focus my attention, in fact that’s not what meditation is about, it’s about learning to simply notice them as just thoughts and simply allow yourself to come back to the breath.
So now I am in day 5 of week two and I really do feel more present during my meditation. Practicing meditation allows me to live in the present moment without judgement and just notice my thoughts. I am not living in the past, “should have”, “I wish I had”, nor am I living in the future…. planning or worrying. I am just in the now.
As the week comes to an end I feel happier, more content and relaxed. I really do feel more positive about things in general such as goals I might have, and things that I am passionate about. Not just about things that “I have to” or “should do” but things I actually want to do. I’m not even going to act on any of these passing thoughts right now, which is definitely a huge step back for me, or maybe by me taking a step back from diving in at the deep end AGAIN is actually a huge step forward. I have a sense that I am allowing some space in my life to breath again, so that creative energy can be allowed to flow more freely back into my life again. I’m not constantly feeling that worried state of mind that was almost like a disease effecting my judgement and corrupting my mind before I even got a chance to open my eyes first thing upon waking up each morning. I am learning how to slow down a little in the day to day running of my life. It feels really good, and I’m glad that I was able to make that choice for myself, and understand that there is always a choice. I remember thinking to myself that in order for me to get the full benefit of this 8 week mindfulness course, that I was going to have to make some changes. One of these changes was to simply turn of the data on my mobile phone, and put it on silent every evening going to bed so that when I woke in the morning I wouldn’t be distracted with emails and other notifications and allow my mind to be sucked into the world of social media. I could start my day with mindfulness.
Simple Awareness Practice’s
This week I had to practice being more aware of how I experience and process pleasant events. Something as simple as noticing the sun on my face or someone smiling at me. I sat in my living room and just gazed out the window for a while just appreciating the beautiful Autumn morning. The colours of the morning light filled up the room I was in and I could feel the warmth of the sun coming in. I could hear the traffic and the birds, I could see the birds resting on the bare tree’s. A person walked by, I just watched them, they didn’t know I was there, and I wondered what thoughts might they be thinking. Were they worried, stressed or maybe happy and grateful? I was experiencing my own stillness in these moment, just watching and noticing how the world just continues to move with each passing breath. It was a very calming experience, I felt feelings of gratitude for this wonderful world we live in and how beautiful my home town is, the wonderful community that lives here and all my close family and friends that surround me. I am truly blessed.
While practicing simple awareness this week, I noticed that it always brought me fully into the moment, and experiencing living in the present moment. Being fully there. This is not a land that I have been use to living in over the past while, and I think that it’s actually a little sad in a way. To give you a few examples, I have many conversations with different people as I go about my day to day life: my partner, my family, my friends, the shop keeper or passers by on the street. But to be brutally honest there are many time’s when I’m talking with these people, that in fact my mind is else where, I’m not actively listening to them, truly hearing them or even connecting with them. I’m talking to my partner, while in my mind I’m deciding what I’m going to cook for dinner, or I’m visiting mum and dad and I’m rambling on about myself or scanning my face book feed at the same time. I have a phone call with a friend and I’m figuring out in my mind how I can best advise them about something they are telling me rather that actually listening to them fully, or I’m paying for my groceries and I’m too busy fussing over my purse and wondering why the cue is taking so long cause I need to get back in time before Eastenders. Are we all guilty of this? Has it become the norm? If the answer is yes then……what impact could this be having on our lives?
Thank you for taking the time to read this post, and i hope it may be of interest or help to you. I’m looking forward to taking part in week 3 of the Mindfulness Course and sharing more of my “moments of mindfulness”.