Snorkeling and Mindfulness of Thoughts

by Cindy Stocken

The water is warm and clear. As I float in the rhythmic Omani waves I breath slowly and deliberately through the snorkel. The fish flitter around me as the light shines through the water creating patterns on the rocks. This is a moment of peace. There are so many fish here. I could see a few from above but when I dip my head below the movement of life astounds me. Life of all shapes, colours and sizes swim, float and grow in the reef.

The current of the water creates a swell like breath – inhale and exhale. Fish and plants (and I) surrender to it and are moved by it. The fish themselves remind me of thoughts. This feels like a mindfulness meditation. Just instead of watching my thoughts without judgement, I am watching fish. Big, small, colourful, interesting, some that move in schools, and little boxy ones that look like they could puff up into balls of spikes when frightened (my thoughts do this often!). Really unusual fish have me enthralled for a little longer and I follow them a bit and then, as they duck beneath a rock or I find another fish, I return to the swell of the waves and breath. Much like thoughts.

I don’t know the names or even the species of the fish so my brain occupies itself by saying “blue one, stripey one, lots of small red ones, really big green one, black boxy one”. Even when it does recognise a fish it knows it doesn’t know enough to create a story and simply moves on. I watch with open curiosity as they eat, engage, and as they, just as curiously, approach and check out this large bug-eyed creature that I am. This is how a mindfulness of thoughts practice can look – just watching and observing without getting attached – just watching your thoughts swim and float. Feeling your emotions as the warm and cool currents. Seeing the core beliefs as the coral and rocks that your thoughts feed on and seek shelter in. Not trying to change anything but just witnessing. Knowing that this life and movement is always happening even when you are above the waterline and cannot see it.

Mindfulness is Heartfulness

by Helen Williams

I love this drawing! I love how it shows the brain leaping into the arms of the waiting heart. I love how it shows the heart, anchored to the trapeze bar with arms outstretched, welcoming the thinking mind. In my experience this is what the essence of Mindfulness Practice brings us.

People often speak of not having the courage to trust themselves, of a deep fear and distrust towards their own selves. Yet on the deepest level of our being, we are driven by a yearning to be known. To be able to leap into the warm, welcoming open arms of a waiting heart and to feel safe, wanted, to know that we belong, we matter, that we can be held.

Mindfulness Practice, through the use of attention to our breath and the present moment, allows us to begin this slow, gentle, persistent journey into our own waiting heart. As we learn over time to open into ourselves, to experience our inner knowing, and to accept ourselves as we are, we realize we are not our thoughts. We are wholehearted, open, wise, knowing awareness, centred within our heart. With Mindfulness, we begin this journey of self trust, of coming home to the heart of ourselves.

It takes practice, patience, determination and community, to help us connect to ourselves and to each other fearlessly, but many wonderful people have told me over the years that practicing mindfulness has completely changed their lives and the image above explains how perfectly. The understanding that I am not my thoughts has helped them to leap into a new experience of the heart of themselves, bringing a calmer perspective to their daily lives. In the beginning, it can feel every bit as risky as swinging off a trapeze, yet learning to accept ourselves as we are, answers our deepest longing to be known. At Mindful ME we don’t offer lessons in trapeze artistry!! We do, however, offer a sincere, openhearted community and a very warm welcome to come exploring Mindfulness with us.

Expore Mindfulness Practice with Helen on Monday nights from 7pm – 9pm. Contact us to register or for more information.

Silence, please

by Isabel Galiardo

TV series, WhatsApp messages, Skype conversations, Facebook posts. News, news, comments, chats,…Breakfasts, meals, coffees and teas, brunches and movies.

We are part of a culture that promotes noise. We live permanently bombarded by stimuli that make it difficult or almost impossible to internalize and connect with our interior. The lucrative business of entertainment keeps us alienated, absorbed in information, audio and visual messages of all sorts, keeping us distracted and disconnected from our selves.

We are afraid of listening internally. Afraid of encountering our insecurities, unresolved issues, loneliness and emptiness. We keep focusing our attention on something external to avoid the pain, but in doing so we are missing the connection with our essence, a place inside of us in which we can find the peace, clarity and strength we are yearning for.

Why is it so difficult to remain connected if we have all those treasures waiting for us in the depths of our being? Because first we need to fight the dragon protecting the door.

The dragon is the symbol or our fears, limiting beliefs and painful wounds. We need to confront him. We don’t want to kill him but make him our ally. We can make peace with our past. How? By accepting and embracing it, which will gives us the power to transcend it.

When we have the courage to fight the dragon, when we break through the layers of our conditioned mind, we access an inner space where we can experience the joy of just being.