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Cycle of Mindfulness

Cycle of Mindfulness

  1. Awareness in the present moment (e.g. breath, body, sounds).
  2. Mind becomes distracted (e.g. thoughts, sounds, judgements).
  3. Noticing the distraction and your reaction to it (e.g. self-criticism, frustration, impatience)
  4. Kind intention to bring your awareness to the here-and-now focus (e.g. back to the breath, body, sounds)

Mindfulness is a cycle. It is more than just the state of awareness (i.e. Stage 1). Mindfulness includes awareness of the present moment, but it also includes the distraction, noticing the distraction and kindly bringing your awareness back to the here and now.

The mind wandering is part of the process, not a mistake. If we believe mindfulness is being in a fixed state of awareness (only the first stage), we might criticise ourselves when we reach the inevitable second and third stage. We might be met with “I’m doing this wrong” or “I’m no good at this” when distraction emerges and possibly give up.

We can spend a lot of energy focusing on why our mind has wandered, how often this happens or how long we have been distracted for. However, it is generally more useful to put that energy into what you do when your mind wanders. Each time you bring your mind back to the present moment, you are strengthening that muscle of awareness and mindfulness. Once you notice that you are distracted, you are not distracted anymore.

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