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According to Jon Kabat-Zinn, the creator of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, mindfulness is, “The awareness that arises from paying attention in a particular way, on purpose, moment-by-moment, non-judgmentally.”
The basic instructions are simple:
While the concept of mindful awareness is simple, the practice can be challenging.
Most of us will initially struggle with the motivation to sit and do ‘nothing’. Our minds will begin thinking of all the things we should be doing or could be doing instead of just sitting and breathing. This struggle is real and reinforced by a world that is fast-paced, multi-task driven, and focused on doing, doing, doing.
Once we have convinced ourselves to show up and ‘do this thing’, now our frustration lands on the exact, ‘How am I supposed to do this?’ dilemma. How are we supposed to sit? What should we do with our hands? How in the world do we stay awake?
Having a teacher, guide, or mentor to support our initial efforts can be priceless. Attempting to navigate the mind-boggling assortment of strategies, techniques and various beliefs being promoted on the internet, YouTube, and seemingly from everywhere these days, can be very overwhelming and keep us from even beginning.
There is no shortage of videos, books, apps, and even gadgets designed to create mindful awareness for us or promising a short-cut that will allow us to just turn off our chattering, chaotic minds and get some rest and relaxation, disappearing into blissful oblivion. Yet nothing can replace the actual experience of being aware…which takes practice.
Here are some useful tips for creating a daily mindful awareness practice:
For the past 20 years scientists, psychologists and neuroscientists have studied mindfulness and how we are affected in our minds, bodies, and our overall sense of wellness from the practice of cultivating awareness. While we continue to explore and discover the concrete and proven benefits of practicing mindful awareness, here are a few that most seem to agree on:
To begin your daily practice, check out the Introduction to Mindful Awareness guided recording linked below;