We find it almost impossible to stay in the ‘here and now.’ Our minds are continually rehashing the past and considering the future, while simultaneously reasoning through and evaluating options, ideas and experiences.
We very rarely experience what is actually happening without this mind chatter.
And so we rarely experience things ‘just as they are.’
Being mindful can involve two processes, both of which can help you focus on the present. The first process is simply noticing the process (rather than responding to the outcomes) of the thinking and feeling that you are experiencing.
- Focus on the thoughts that flow through your mind, noticing how quickly they change and flutter from one topic to another.
- Notice the way feelings can ebb and flow, can grab you or unsettle you and sometimes drive you into wanting things.
- Notice the sensations that you are experiencing — what you are seeing, hearing and touching, and how these things exist and simply ‘are’ around you.
The second process involves your noticing — can your noticing be curious, open and accepting?
- Can you approach your thoughts and feelings as though you were a neutral scientist?
- Can you notice them a way that is compassionate, nurturing and loving?
- Can you do this even though you might feel dislike for what you are thinking or feeling?
A mindful approach has no evaluation or judgement.
A mindful approach means you are not fighting, getting rid of, pushing away or changing what you experience.
A mindful approach helps you experience the ‘present’— just as it is.
What you can do:
- Choose one way of being mindful and practise (see the next blog post). When you notice your thoughts and feelings try to leave them just as they are.