We have now covered all of the original 7 Attitudes of Mindfulness, including the extra two that Jon Kabat-Zinn has decided to incorporate into his next version, taking the total to 9 Attitudes of Mindfulness. To recap, here they all are:
It seems like a lot to remember doesn’t it? You’re probably asking yourselves some questions like these:
- How do we be mindful when we have so many different attitudes to remember and to cultivate in order to do it?
- How do we actually practice Mindfulness anyway?
So I’ll do my best to help answer those two questions!
How do we be mindful when we have so many difference attitudes to remember and to cultivate in order to do it?
Don’t get hung up on having to cultivate the 9 attitudes of mindfulness. They have been presented to you now so you have an awareness of them and that is a big step in the right direction. I would suggest that every now and then you have another read through about each of them to keep your awareness fresh. This is why I decided to do this series, to refresh my mind as I am still learning to practice Mindfulness myself. Eventually they will ‘lock in’ and become an instinctive part of your mindfulness practice. Remember that all the attitudes of mindfulness are interlinked, so if you are implementing one you quite possibly are implementing several.
How do we actually practice Mindfulness anyway?
Mindfulness can be practiced during our every day lives and it can be practiced during meditation.
Mindfulness Outside of Meditation
We can practice Mindfulness in our every day lives and activities by making a conscious effort to be aware of the present and to fully feel it with all our senses.
Here are some examples of how you can practice:
- Take three or four conscious breaths while resting your attention on the sensation of the breath coming in and going out of your body. You may have been aware of a sound, a smell, or maybe a bodily sensation other than the breath. Careful attention to whatever is happening in the present moment is the essence of mindfulness. The sensation of the breath is often used as an anchor because breathing is always present in the moment.
- Mindful eating: focusing all attention on the food we are eating – the food being pierced by your fork, the feeling in your arm as you raise the food to your mouth, the smell of the food, how the food feels on your tongue, the sound of the food as you chew it, the texture of the food, the sensation of swallowing and how the food is making you feel.
- Treat yourself to a ‘Mindful Shower’! So many of our daily routines are done mindlessly but are such wasted opportunities to practice mindfulness. Next time you’re in the shower, focus on the water on your skin. What is the temperature? How is the pressure? Use your sense of smell to enjoy the scent of your shampoo or body wash. Really bring yourself into the moment and actually think about what you are doing. Notice how this experience differs from your usual routine.
- Mindfulness is very much a way to increase understanding of the inner workings of our own minds. Focus on being mindful of your thoughts during the day. Notice any tendencies for negative or ruminative thinking. If you do notice a negative thought pattern, try the following steps:
- Practice Yoga! Yoga is a meditation of the body and links in very nicely with mindfulness. In yoga, our bodies help to “anchor” us in the present, as our awareness is focused on the changes happening within our bodies.
Mindfulness during Meditation
There are many ways to practice Mindfulness during Meditation. However, the most important way to start is by keeping it simple.
Find a suitable place in your home that is quiet and where you will not be disturbed. Leave the lights on or sit in natural light – whichever you prefer. You can sit outside if you like, but choose a place with little distraction.
When you’re first starting out, try meditating for just 5-10 minutes. Eventually you can build up to twice as long, then maybe up to 45 minutes or an hour. Use a kitchen timer or the timer on your phone.
Ideally you would sit with good posture (a nice straight back) in a chair or perhaps on a cushion on the floor. If you are sitting on a chair, be sure that your feet are flat on the floor. If you’re on the floor, you can sit cross-legged, in lotus posture, kneeling – whatever is most comfortable for you.
Once seated and settled, feel your breath as it goes out and as it goes in. It is quite natural that inevitably your attention will leave the breath and wander to other places. When you get around to noticing this—in a few seconds, a minute, five minutes—return your attention to the breath. Don’t bother judging yourself or obsessing over the content of the thoughts. Come back. You go away, you come back. That’s the practice. It’s often been said that it’s very simple, but it’s not necessarily easy. The work is to just keep doing it. The benefits will come!
This is what you do to start your practice of Mindful Meditation.
Ciao for now,
[ This post is linked up with One Mother Hen’s #OpenSlather ]