So, Mindfulness, what is it? Well, following Lisa Milnor of Shaping Clarity’s course this is my interpretation. Firstly, we often think that the things we think are true. Not so. We do actually have a choice:
- Believe these thoughts and except their consequences
- Challenge these thoughts and alter the consequences.
- Face our thoughts, let them be and see what happens.
Mindfulness is living in the moment, being aware of this moment. It’s all we have. We don’t truly have the past or the present. However, our thoughts can be affected by the past or the future, and that is something we allow to happen. With practice, we can learn to realise that our thoughts are simply that, thoughts. They are not the truth and therefore we do not need to hang on to them. In fact we can turn to them, face them and learn to let them go. Accept them as they are, without judging them or analysing them and instead bring ourselves to the now. A simple way to do this is through our breath. The next breath you are about to take is the only time this breath will be taken, never again. Take a moment now to be with your next 3 breathes now – allowing any thoughts to fade away.
As a hypnotherapist I am fully aware of how powerful our minds are. We are capable of so much yet we can limit ourselves to things being the way they are. As I sometimes explain to my clients, even if you have a thought more than once it doesn’t mean it’s the truth, no more than the first time you thought it. Actually if we want to change what’s going on there are various ways. Mindfulness and Hypnotherapy are two of those ways and they happen to compliment each other well.
Mindfulness is a conscious way of being; we are human beings not human doings, though as Lisa pointed out this can be a more appropriate term a lot of the time. Hypnotherapy, meanwhile, works on the subconscious mind altering unwanted beliefs so they fit with conscious desires and goals. Together they are a wonder. I sometimes recommend Lisa’s courses to clients, when appropriate, a great way to compound and build on the subconscious mind and whatever they have already achieved through hypnotherapy.
At the moment I am enjoying the book ‘The Power of Now’ by Eckhartt Toll which describes the link between or subconscious minds and our conscious minds. We hook onto the conscious thoughts about the past or present that have come from our subconscious minds protection instincts. If we can separate ourselves off from these, be the onlooker as it were, we can be in the now. We can disconnect ourselves from our subconscious’ protection that is based on the unknown future and, therefore, it’s made up concerns or thoughts. Equally unrest or fears which are based on the past are not actually relevant here and now. That past is gone.
What I feel I have learnt about mindfulness, or, at least, how I see it, is that it is a conscious mind activity ( or a lack of activity) that enables the art of acceptance. This is done by placing our attention on now, right now, here, now and without judgement or criticism but instead with compassion, care and kindness to ourselves and to others.
I also have discovered the best revelation of all, turning and facing our feelings and thoughts, what is here now, can transform those feelings into something unexpected. I have found on a number of occasions that strong disruptive emotions just fade away once they are looked at face on, accepted without judgement. They are there, so are we. Be here, be with them, where is it, what does it look and feel like; then see what happens.
For more information on Lisa’s courses look for Shaping clarity and Mindfulness in Skipton.