What is going to be different in 2012? What if you could find inner peace and contentment? What if you had the ability to control you emotions and thoughts, if you were able to accept anything that came along and could move on with your life in a spirit of loving acceptance?
The first step is to quiet our mind. If we can stop our brain chatter and recognize it for what it is, we are closer to the goal of “mindfulness”. Mindfulness is a form of awareness, a desirable state that allows you to view your thoughts as an observer and choose which ones you will focus on. Why is mindfulness desirable? Because this state of being is a calm, peaceful way to approach life as someone who both releases and paradoxically gains control. Mindfulness teaches us that there is much we can control in life, much we cannot and the difference.
Mindfulness allows us to act with understanding, wisdom and patience, it allows us to control our emotions, like anger, instead of the other way around. It also has proven health benefits, those who practice mindfulness have reduced the risk of death by heart attack and stroke by half. Also, ironically, mindfulness helps us to understand that we will someday die and by liberated in life by this acceptance. Mindfulness is not about being self-centered, it is about understanding that we are one with everyone and everything. The best path to being present is to simply be present. Focus on your breath. Meditating is a big word for focusing on your breath and staying in the now.
Here’s what being mindful is like, try this: take some grapes out of the refrigerator. Feel how cool they are to the touch. Gently squeeze them, feel how they are full of juice, it would be so easy to crush them. Bite down on one, feel the cold skin snap, the juice inside fill your mouth, feel the grape slide down your throat and into your belly. Do it again. Try to feel as many sensations as you can while eating the grapes without driving, listening to the television, reading your computer or even speaking. Just enjoy the experience of eating grapes.
Now, a lot of people claim they can’t meditate, but if you can eat grapes without letting your mind be steered away by distractions, you have just practiced being mindful, being PRESENT. We drive while eating, texting, cleaning our glasses and listening to the radio. We open 5 chat rooms at once and work with phones ringing all around us. Being present means you liberate yourself from all of that, from thoughts of the past, from worries of the future and just BE one Breath At a Time.
Give this one a try, just set aside 10 minutes a day, every day to focus on breathing and being present. You’ll be amazed at what a difference it can make!