“Mindfulness is a way of befriending ourselves and our experience.”
– Jon Kabat-Zinn
When I started practicing mindfulness, I had little idea what to expect or how things would change for me. I had read, that mindfulness is being present in the moment. But what it meant, was beyond my comprehension.
At any given moment, we are usually thinking of either the future or ruminating in our past experiences. And there is so much that we miss out in that moment. I came to understand this and the many benefits of mindfulness as I moved on in this journey.
Today I would like to share some of my experiences with mindfulness and its benefits, with all of you.
According to Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn, founder of the ‘Stress Reduction Clinic’ at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, ‘Mindfulness means paying attention to what is happening in the present moment in the mind, in the body and external environment with an attitude of curiosity and kindness.’
As I began the practice, this moment-by-moment awareness of myself, helped me see the restlessness of my mind. I could observe the physical manifestations of the restlessness. At the beginning, meditation even for a few minutes was difficult. As I progressed in the practice of mindfulness, I felt more peaceful and calmer and was able to prolong the meditation time.
The formal practice of mindfulness made me more observant of myself throughout the day. I learnt that I was especially prone to multitasking when I felt anxious. I spent more time on the tasks at hand and ended up being stressed further. The mindfulness exercises helped me understand these patterns and change my perspective. I started concentrating on one task at a time. It helped me focus better and stress less.
I also started to observe my emotions and thoughts. Sometimes my thoughts would wander, and I learnt to use my breath to anchor my mind whenever it meandered. As Thich Nhat Hanh, “father of mindfulness” says,
“Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky. Conscious breathing is my anchor.”
I also learnt to experience the physical sensations associated with various emotions. I felt gratitude and kindness as positive sensations and warmth like a flow of positive energy. It has helped me become more appreciative of my blessings, and gratitude has increased. I am kinder and more compassionate now.
Mindfulness has been an amazing, life- altering experience for me. I hope it will bring more peace, calm, gratitude, and a sense of wellbeing to my life and to those around me as I continue this journey.
“People usually consider walking on water or in thin air a miracle. But I think the real miracle is not to walk either on water or in thin air, but to walk on earth. Every day we are engaged in a miracle which we don’t even recognize: a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, the black, curious eyes of a child—our own two eyes. All is a miracle.” -Thich Nhat Hanh