What is mindfulness anyway?

This is a tricky question. Try describing what an orange tastes like to someone who has never eaten one, or the colour blue to someone who cannot see. It's obvious really when you experience it for yourself but describing that experience to someone else? Well that can be a problem. However, don't be discouraged; we all know what it is already. Yes honestly. We all have the capacity to be mindful. It's just that we forget.

Quite simply, mindfulness can be described as turning up and paying attention to your life. Jon Kabat-Zinn, who developed mindfulness based approaches at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center, describes mindfulness as: “..paying attention in a particular way: on purpose in the present moment and non-judgementally.”  Most of us don’t live our lives like this at all. Think about it; how many times do you open the fridge door only to forget what you were looking for, or drive to work without any recollection of the journey? How many times do you spend your leisure time fretting about work and forgetting about what is actually happening in front of your nose? Mindfulness training is based on centuries old concentration and meditation practices which have been adapted for use in a variety of settings; pain relief, stress reduction, depression. It would be a mistake, however to imagine that here has to be something wrong with you before you can benefit from mindfulness training. It is all about increasing the enjoyment and quality of your life, whoever you are and whatever your circumstances.

Oh, and it changes your brain. It really does. Practice meditation often enough, even for only 10 minutes a day and the very structure of your brain will alter. In a good way of course. So maybe you should think about genuinely "changing your mind" for the New Year, making a resolution to live your life as if every moment really does matter and regain a little of the wonder of life that you had when you were a child.

We'll be posting regular tips on this page which will help you live a more mindful life and may even encoursge you to enrol on one of our courses. We hope so.

Happy New Year!



Donald MurrayComment