Introduction to mindfulness
Before giving you an action plan to live mindfulness through meditation or in everyday life, it may be wise to define what mindfulness is, right?
Mindfulness consists in being present at the experience of the moment when we are living without a filter, that is, accepting what is coming. Moreover, mindfulness is independent of any judgment. In other words, we are not trying to know whether it is right or wrong, desirable or not, because there is no value or morality in it. Moreover, there is no waiting, we do not want anything specific to happen or happen. It's just happening.
This last sentence makes it possible to remove a doubt about the reader's expectations, mindfulness is not the path to a form of nirvana where the path of practice would be painful enough to deserve a form of ecstasy at the end of the journey.
So if you are impatient to jump on the spot we can only appreciate this overwhelming enthusiasm but do a vinyasa yoga session and then resume your reading 😅
The fundamentals of mindfulness
Mindfulness in meditation or in everyday life is cultivated by adopting the position of observer. This requires that you become aware of the inner and outer flow of reactions to inner and outer experiences. Just about everything we see is labelled and categorized by the mind. This habit locks us into mechanical reactions of which we are not aware and which have no objective basis.
You don't believe that? Be careful on the way to work for example, the number of times you are concerned about "I like" or "I don't like", if only 10 minutes, you will see!
In practicing mindfulness, it is important to recognize this judgmental character of the mind when it manifests itself and to adopt the attitude of the observer. When you judge a situation such as when breathing: what is required is to be aware of what is happening. You may have to think, "wow, I breathe fast", "maybe I don't breathe well".
No need to judge. When this happens, it is very important to recognize it as thought-judgment and to remember that the practice involves suspending these judgments so that they become merely an observation.
Patience is a form of wisdom and can be a useful quality to invoke when the mind is agitated. The practice of patience reminds us that we do not have to fill our moments with activities and more thoughts to make the mind rich. When in fact the opposite is true. To be present is simply to be completely open at all times.
Everything we do is intended to fulfill a purpose, but in mindfulness meditation it is different. Although it requires "skills", meditation is ultimately a matter of "not doing", that is, being yourself!
So the best way to practice mindfulness meditation correctly is to stop looking for results and instead start focusing carefully to see and accept things as they are, from moment to moment. With patience and regular practice, a movement towards your goals will take place on its own. This movement becomes a deployment that you invite to occur at the heart of your being.
Acceptance means seeing things as they really are in the present moment. Accepting does not mean that you must love everything, nor that you must adopt a passive attitude towards everyone and abandon the principles and values that are yours. Nor does it mean that you are satisfied with things as they are and resign yourself to supporting them as "they must be so". This does not mean that you should stop freeing yourself from your self-destructive habits because it is like that and therefore hopeless.
It's more about seeing things as they are.
This attitude creates in you the necessary conditions to act appropriately in your life no matter what happens. In the practice of mindfulness meditation, we simply make sure that we remain receptive and open to everything that we think or see accepted because it is here, now. It is clearly wise to cultivate acceptance.
Let it go
Often, our minds hold us captive despite our intelligence. That is why it is fundamental to practice mindfulness to cultivate the attitude of letting go.
A striking example is that of the fly trying to get out of your house and constantly bumping into your window while the other window a few centimetres away is open...
If we find it particularly difficult to release something because of its strong hold on our mind, we can direct our attention to the feeling of this "hold". Clinging is the opposite of letting go. Seeing how we hold on finally teaches us a lot about the opposite attitude of letting go.
Finally, letting go is a known skill, we use it every night before going to sleep. Most of us have the experience of periods when our minds just don't stop when we go to bed. At times like this, we may not be able to free ourselves from certain thoughts in which we are in fact too powerfully involved. If you can fall asleep, it's because you're already an expert at letting go. You just need to practice using this skill when you are awake
It will not surprise you that breathing has a special place in the good practice of mindfulness meditation or mindfulness of daily life. If you are on Forevernoon it is because you are already an insider. We can only recommend that you read our article on vinyasa yoga and Ujjayi breathing to consolidate your knowledge of breathing and mindfulness. Moreover, its principles are the same for the practice of bikram or kundalini yoga as for meditation of any kind.
Apply mindfulness now
One of the obstacles of today's world to meditate in full consciousness or simply live in consciousness.
The digital barrier
This obstacle calls digital, as great as it is, because it allows you to discover Forevernoon while reading a great article, digital is an underestimated barrier to mindfulness.
The French author Michel Desmurget, a neuroscientist, had already popularized the influence of television by summarizing thousands of scientific experiments in his book "tv lobotomie", recently did the same work for our dear smartphones and computers.
What is striking when we look at advertising is the incredible influence we "others" - our environment - have on our minds. Did you know that Silverstone Stallone received a proposal of $500,000 to smoke in its next 5 movies? The goal is to associate cigarettes with vitality and physical strength in order to make people forget their association with death and illness. Heineken also offered $45 million to James Bond to replace the English spy's eternal martini with beer.
The prices are extremely high because the return on investment is enormous. These subliminal advertising messages are extremely effective because our brains are made available to receive them. Indeed, we unconsciously retain more information when we experience a strong emotion just before.
So, if our minds are constantly shocked by strong sensations to better be imbued with an advertising message, what about our ability to grasp life serenely?
Either the exact opposite of an attitude leading to a state of mindfulness, remember one of the pillars of mindfulness is letting go. Only with a billboard that rings frequently in our pocket, desire regularly knocks at the door of your mind, simply preventing it from refocusing on your being or consciousness.
It was important to take a look at how our brain works so that you can better understand how to live and meditate in full consciousness. It is by knowing the dangers that you will more easily achieve your objectives.
This well-known philosophy was already confirmed 2500 years ago at the time of Sun Tzu
Know your enemy and know yourself, even with a hundred wars to support, a hundred times you will be victorious. If you ignore your enemy and know yourself, your chances of losing and winning will be equal. If you ignore both your enemy and yourself, you will only count your battles by defeats.
Digital objects are a wonderful invention that our brains do not fully control. As homo sapiens, we have been forged in 200,000 years, so it is not in 15 years that our brains adapt too.
So, in order to live serenely (!) I invite you to walk as much as possible before going home. It is a break with your 9 hours of work in front of the screen that will be highly appreciated by your body and mind.
In order to perfect this program I recommend some meditation applications: small bamboo or headspace. As for Yoga, there is also a circuit proposed in our previous article.
The program we are offering is inspired by Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn's excellent book "In the Heart of Turmoil, Mindfulness".
- Week 1 and 2
Body scan, 6 days a week, 45 minutes a day. A body scan program is offered by the Headspace application. Let their recording guide you or you can also find free meditation recordings on YouTube.
Sitting with awareness of breathing, 10 minutes a day. As we explain in our article on Ujjayi Breathing in Vinyasa Yoga, this awareness of breathing can very well be done when you are washing dishes or restoring yourself.
- Week 3 and 4
Alternate body scanning and yoga (45 minutes to if possible, 6 days a week)
Continue sitting with breath awareness, 15 to 20 minutes a day.
- Week 5 and 6
Provides 30 to 45 minutes a day, alternating with yoga. Start walking meditation if you are not already doing so. Consider walking trips such as returning from work.
- Week 7
Practice 45 minutes a day by choosing one or more combined methods.
- Week 8 and beyond
You should have enough experience to know which practice and how often it is best for you.