What is mindfulness if you don’t mind me asking?

Not an uncommon question. Even though mindfulness is becoming a buzzword most people are unsure about what it is.

Mindfulness is a practise that facilitates a different attitude towards experience – one that is based on being rather than doing. So we are invited to give up the constant doing, striving, arguing with what is, constantly making more effort, pushing ourselves to be more and have more. We are invited to give up the struggle of trying to be somebody we are not, thinking the thoughts we cannot think.

Mindfulness is about stopping to become still and allow what is – to access clarity. It is not against taking appropriate action when needed. However, the action is taken from the point of clarity and stillness. It’s not the anxious, reactive, frantic doing that so many of us are used to.

Mindfulness is about starting to investigate for yourself who you truly are, how your mind works, becoming aware of your thoughts, feelings, habits and beliefs. It is about observation without criticism. You learn to be with your thoughts and feelings without taking them personally or trying to solve them. Mindfulness allows you to recognise that you are more than your feelings, than your thoughts, or your beliefs.

Mindfulness is not about trying to force change it is about becoming aware of things as they are. Mindful acceptance is not resignation or an excuse to be lazy. It allows you to experience the world non-judgementally with openness and curiosity. It gives you a tremendous sense of perspective. You can sense what is important and what is not. Mindfulness encourages you to treat yourself and others with compassion. Scientific research shows that empathy and genuine compassion towards yourself and others have hugely beneficial effects on health and wellbeing.

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