As teachers of mindfulness, we find more and more that people are longing to connect more deeply with themselves, to practice better self-care and to find ways to quieten their, very often, busy minds.
A mindfulness meditation practice teaches and encourages us to sit with ourselves in silence, you with you, and without judgement accept what we experience of ourselves in that moment.
Through different breathing practices, we learn to connect the mind and breath deeply in the body, we anchor ourselves within ourselves.
As everything starts to slow down, we may often experience a tidal wave of thought.
In mindfulness we teach: put your mind where your body is. Being anchored in the body is very unfamiliar to the mind, as it is used to jump all over the place, constantly giving energy and attention to a multitude of thoughts and ingrained belief systems. At times, it can feel like we’re trying to tame a wild beast!
Many give up on any sort of mindfulness meditation practice because the noise and velocity of the thinking that we encounter are too intense. In fact, many come to learn mindfulness to escape from all the thinking, and then find that they don’t actually want to give it up. “My mind is too loud/ busy/scattered for meditation.”
Nonetheless, as we continue to sit and breathe and on purpose bring our minds back in the body, over and over, with patience and not looking for anything in particular, we will inevitably start to notice a distance to our thoughts, instead of being trapped inside them.
This distance is the gold, it is the gift of our awareness, the ability to take on the role as observer to our experience.
By cultivating a practice of witnessing, somewhat dispassionately, how the constant stream of thought literally forms the backdrop to our existence, like a wall of water forever pouring and streaming through us – we may start to see that we are not our thoughts, as we drop away from identifying with the stream.
As we continue to observe our thinking, it is important to be tender with ourselves, develop compassion and humour as we give space for the bewilderment we inevitably feel as we become more aware of what our minds are occupied with.
It feels good to be able to observe our thinking mind in this way, instead of being trapped within it. Regardless of what we see.
In a way, we’re off the hook. We don’t have to do anything to control our thinking, fix it, hack it or change it – because it is simply not possible. For as long as we breathe, thinking is always going to be there. Just let it be.
The gift of our awareness soothes the thinking mind, gives it the space it needs to settle. Through practice, we notice our thinking becomes less intrusive, softer, less tempting and our desire to engage becomes less and less as we, on purpose, start to choose a more peaceful mind.
Next in this series: Why do we think? (coming soon – follow our blog to get it straight to your inbox!)
To learn more about Mindfulness Meditation you can come to our group sessions (Mindfulness, Mindful Living or Meditation), or book in a private session with Kristine or come to her weekly support group sessions on Tuesday mornings from 10am – 12pm. Get in touch with us to find out more.