Mindfulness is a word that appears a lot in today’s world of wellness, it may be one of those concepts that has become so commonplace that the value of its purpose may get overlooked. So what does mindfulness mean to you? In general it is a conscious way of looking at life, and the self, and our relationship with the world and others.
Wikipedia tells us that mindfulness is “the psychological process of purposely bringing one’s attention to experiences occurring in the present moment without judgment, which one can develop through the practice of meditation and through other training. Mindfulness is derived from sati, a significant element of Buddhist traditions, and based on Zen, Vipassanā, and Tibetan meditation techniques”.
Although the basis of mindfulness comes from Buddhism and meditation the practice of it in modern mainstream wellness circles has come from medical studies based in America which centred around the reduction of stress. These studies were carried out in the seventies and have since sparked inspiration for thousands more whereby the positive effects of mindfulness have been documented and put into to use to help many many people in all walks of life.
Mindfulness is a mental state we achieve by focussing on the present, by being wholly present. During which we acknowledge and accept our feelings and thoughts and all sensations occurring within and around us. It is the right now. It is about consistently maintaining our awareness without judgement; there is no right way or wrong way, we just need to accept our way. It therefore involves acceptance and avoiding allowance of past or future moments to push their way into our consciousness and affect our mindset.
We have the power to control our own mindsets, our own attention, yet we do not have control over other people or external forces, and so we have to learn not to attach expectation to our own feelings and thoughts as this will unravel all the empowerment we have achieved by being mindful and present, leaving us frustrated and disappointed.
So how do we let go of expectation? Looking to the future and hoping for a particular outcome creates standards, if those standards are not met we will suffer disappointment and be unhappy with the result. In order to prevent this happening we have to let go of those expectations. This may be a tall order as we all like to plan for certain things, look forward to occasions, and build for our futures, however we need to release the expected outcome of all these forward thinking events; the results may not be as expected, but they are results nonetheless. If we expect less we will suffer the consequences less. And as we realise that we placed those expectations where they were in the first place, we can start to see that we are in fact the ones puppeteering the entire situation. All of which we have the power to avoid. Learning to go with the proverbial flow more, and not trying to commandeer every eventuality will present far more freedom and inner peace.
Have a think about how you manage your expectations. Is there anything which you cannot let go of, anything you hold too tightly? And if those expectations are not met are you able to release them afterwards?
Once we know we are in control of our own thoughts and the way we manage ourselves moment by moment, we can begin to release expectation and allow things to flow more smoothly. Once you let go you will feel a huge sense of freedom, free from the possibilities that lie ahead. Imagine how much space your thoughts would have if they were not accompanied by all the possible outcomes of what may or may not happen! Imagine what you could do with all that space. Meditation practice can greatly help to achieve this level of mindfulness. If you are new to meditation you can find online beginner course which talk you through the basics and build you up gradually to a place where you may be able to do it alone. Personally I find that guided meditation directed towards a goal you are seeking to be really helpful. Following a course motivates you to keep up with each daily task and helps to make you find time each day to take part.
Online Courses in Mindfulness & Meditation
Here at the School of Natural Health Sciences our Mindfulness and Meditation Courses are hugely popular both with practicing therapists looking to expand their knowledge and individuals who are interested in learning how to practice.
Mindfulness Course – A Distance Learning Diploma Course of 8 Lessons
The course discusses many techniques for stress and pain management and how to improve relationships. Where our suffering comes from is explained, looking in detail at our thoughts and emotions and how they rule us. Find out More
Meditation – A Distance Learning Diploma Course of 11 Lessons
This Meditation course, takes the student on a journey through both Eastern and Western meditation techniques; from Chakra Balancing to Walking the Labyrinth. A Practitioner/Therapist Level Qualification is awarded on successful completion of this course. Find out More