Keep Calm and Carry On

By Suzi Hall Mar 9, 2014
We all desire to find meaning in our lives and make sense of the world around us. Mindfulness is a method of being present in every moment, a meditation practise that is accessible for all of us to experience. Meditation has become something so seemingly unachievable by today’s impossibly high standards and demand for instant gratification. This is unless we deem to take ourselves off, live in the mountains, be with nature and somehow, if we force ourselves to be still, we will eventually find our way to peace. Sitting still and being still has become so challenging to us now, in a world full of distractions. Smart phones have become the new life line. Ask yourself how you feel when you leave your phone at home or visit a restaurant that DOESN’T HA VE WIFI?!
Time on holiday, away from the hubbub of life, work and stress and being in a place of extreme beauty like Krabi can become a space for self-reflection. We take time to sit by the sunset and take in the beauty around us, even in the act of observing natural beauty is including yourself in a meditation and being mindful of the present moment.
Walking on the beach, the sounds of the waves, children playing, can all bring us to a sense of calm and contentment. So why do we see meditation as such a hard ‘state’ to reach? Rather consider, that this mindful state can be continuously accessible to us by just taking more time to be in the present moment and aware of all the things we do and say. A good way to understand mindfulness is consider the opposite: Mindlessness.
Ask yourself how many do you know. (Adapted from Brown & Ryan, 2003) • Rushing through activities without being attentive to them. • Breaking or spilling things because of carelessness, inattention or thinking of something else. • Failing to notice subtle feelings of physical tension or discomfort. • Forgetting a person’s name almost as soon as we have heard it. • Finding ourselves preoccupied with the future or the past. • Snacking without being aware of eating.

Ekhart Tolle, a modern day spiritual leader and a true inspiration, believes we can observe our patterns of thought and our internal dialogue, which is usually negative. Through observation of these thoughts we can move past them, reaching a more peaceful place. "When you notice that voice, you realize that who you are is not the voice-the thinker-but the one who is aware of it." Ekhart Tolle’s book The Power of Now has sold over 2 million copies worldwide and translated into over 30 languages, I would recommend reading it to everyone. The mind and body connection is so important and yet so easy to ignore. If the concept of meditation, trying to observe and move past your thoughts seem so unreachable, consider being more mindful in your everyday life. The teachings of Buddha advise walking, eating, making our actions slow and considered to really understand, experience and bring us to the present.
Buddhism and Mediation “Buddha,” (simply means a person who is awake) found enlightenment by just sitting still and mindfulness is at the core of Buddhist psychology. The Four Noble Truths are regarded as the central doctrine of the Buddhist tradition;
(1) The human condition involves suffering. (2) The conflict between how things are and how we desire them to be causes this suffering. (3) Suffering can be reduced or even eliminated by changing our attitude toward unpleasant experience. (4) There are eight general strategies (the Eightfold Path) to bring suffering to an end. These can seem negative but are considered realistic. Buddhist psychology is primarily a practical way to know, shape and free the mind and this connection to the mind takes time and a big dose of patience with our self. Yoga and mediation
Being a student of yoga, meditation is set deeply in the eight limbs of Yoga. The physical practise of class is to bring us to a place of complete stillness, where we can take time to rejuvenate our bodies and take a conscious role in deep relaxation and connection to our mind.
Yoga postures (Asanas) deep breathing (Pranayama) and meditation (Dhyana) all designed to bring you to the present moment. So if sitting still makes you uncomfortable try a yoga class to work off the physical needs before settling into the mental. Tips for meditation and mindfulness Make a space in your home for ‘me time’ and fill it with wonderful things, perhaps something you can hold in your hand. A picture that reminds you of someone special, a happy time or place.
A candle can sometimes be a wonderful way to focus your mind and bring light and warmth into your body.
Focussing on your breath, by counting the time it takes to inhale and matching the exhale.
Experience the happiness of being grateful for people, places and experiences in your life.
Repeating in your mind, the mantra: I breath in, I breathe out.
Even just 5 minutes a day sitting on your journey to work, you can clear you mind and focus on breathing. Downloading apps can be helpful if you need sound to focus on. Leave your smart phone at home more often. My biggest tip to any student of mediation; Accept that it is very normal to think, we have approximately 64,000 thoughts a day - Try not to focus on your thinking, why are you thinking, your inability not to think and so on and so forth. Stay in the present, listen to your breath, observe your thoughts, accept that you think and try to let go.
Find Suzi on Twitter @suzipt_yoga and *from Guilford Publications. Mindfulness and Psychotherapy, Edited by Christopher K. Germer, Ronald D. Siegel, and Paul R. Fulton, Copyright © 2005.

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