Mindfulness – Instagram versus Reality
When we think of mindfulness, we might think of the first image – an image of feeling relaxed, at ease, calmness, quietness, enlightenment. However, the reality of mindfulness is more like the second image. Externally, we may look relaxed. However, the reality is that our minds can get distracted very easily to everything and anything.
If relaxation happens, it’s a bonus rather than the goal. In fact, mindfulness can sometimes be challenging as you’re opening yourself to all experiences; not just pleasant ones, but also uncomfortable and indifferent ones.
Mindfulness is about cultivating awareness of your present experience of thoughts, sensations, feelings etc. It is likely that you will experience unpleasant thoughts and feelings of struggle, resistance, avoidance, mind wandering, impatience, planning, judgement etc. When these arise, as best as you can, meet these struggles with curiosity, compassion, patience and bring yourself back in the present moment.
This takes time. It is a gradual process rather than a quick fix. Our minds wandering is a habit of lifetime. This is not a mistake or means that you are doing it wrong; this is the nature of our minds.
We can feel frustrated when we sit down to do a practice and our mind is so busy with thoughts. It is not about being present for 30 minutes solid. With any exercise, it takes practice, time and commitment. For starting off, perhaps 10 minutes a day is more useful for you. This can even be divided in two seperate 5 minute practices in a day. It can be becoming aware of your senses doing something mundane, like making a cup of tea, walking to work, listening to music, cleaning.
Next post will be based on the cycle of mindfulness.