Month of Mindfulness: The Pursuit of Happiness
Mindfulness is awareness of our outer life… meditation is awareness of our inner life
“The little things? The little moments? They aren’t little.” ~Jon Kabat-Zinn
We are all familiar with day to day activities and repetitive tasks, like driving or cleaning, that enable our minds to wander. We often fantasize about something or someone else, and worry about the future. This keeps us from being present in our current experiences and cherishing things in the moment. Being mindful keeps us from surrendering ourselves from the here and now, allowing us moment to moment experiences. It is about being a human-being rather than a human-doing. Mindfulness gives us tools to live our lives to their fullest potentials.
Life is full of choices. We are tested in ways that sometimes seem more difficult than what we can handle. We then respond to these challenges with thoughts and actions that sway us back and forth between pleasure and pain. Our perception of these extremes often leaves us feeling tense and stressed. Recent scientific research has shown how these normal, emotional fluxes can lead to long-term unhappiness, acute anxiety, and even depression.
Mindful practices help create neutral responses to these challenges, bringing balance and stability into our lives for calmness and clarity in all situations, whether they are peaceful or challenging. Conscious thoughts send ripples into the universe, and they eventually return back to us in positive or negative waves. Our thoughts influence our feelings and how we perceive our lives. The amount of joy or pain we experience is directly correlated to our thinking.
There are ways to remove habits are not beneficial to continue on the path of growth, clarity, balance, and happiness. True healing requires work, determination and commitment to it as a process. The first step is to identify feelings of unresolved emotional stress. Then, it is necessary to be present to feelings that arise such as grieving the loss of a person, relationship, or opportunity. Finally, we need to forgive ourselves and others.
Mindfulness is a self-awareness technique and skill to be present in a moment without being judgmental. We all have the capacity to be mindful. For it to become lifestyle, it involves cultivating the ability to pay attention in the present moment. This allows us to disengage from mental “chatter” and to have a clear state of mind. This is far more than relaxation techniques or positive thinking, making it possible for us to respond rather than react to situations, and improving our ability to make decisions.
During the Month of Mindfulness, we will use different tools to become more self-aware of our choices and processes to help us find balance, calmness, clarity, and happiness.
~People that meditate regularly enjoy better and more fulfilling relationships.
~Anxiety, depression and irritability decrease with a regular practice of meditation.
~Improved memory, reaction time, and mental and physical stamina
~Many studies done around the world have found that meditation reduces indicators of chronic stress.
~Meditation has also been effective in reducing the impact of serious conditions such as chronic pain and cancer.
~It can also help with dependencies on drugs and alcohol.
~Studies have shown a link between meditation and the immune system helping us fight off colds, the flu, and other diseases.
A few meditation myths:
~Meditation is not a religion, but instead a method of mental training.
~It is not mandatory for you to sit on the floor in a crossed legged position.
~You don’t have to practice for hours in order to gain benefits, but it does take some patience and persistence.
~Meditation is not complicated, and it is not based on success or failure.
~Mediation is not about accepting the unacceptable. It is about cultivating compassion and seeing your life with greater clarity.