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Mindfulness

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Mindfulness is so relevant in today's world.   I integrate mindfulness in my coaching and training as it is the best self regulation, self awareness and transforming practice I know.   As an Executive Coach practicing mindfulness, it embodies everything I do and therefore has a huge influence on my coaching and interventions within companies. 

 

Mindfulness is a way to be fully present with yourself and in your relationships at home and at work.   Being mindful gives us our own internal compass, moment by moment.   Jon Kabat-Zinn's name is synonymous with mindfulness today. He describes it as living purposely and being awake to your life. Kabat-Zinn says   " Mindfulness is paying attention in a particular way, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally." 

 

It creates clarity which is an important part of coaching and can therefore enhance the journey when the client practices by doing small exercises outside of the coaching session.  

 

It’s all about self observation, self inquiry and mindful action. Therefore during the self observation you can catch your thought or belief before it takes a hold of you, inquire and then mindfully you respond. In the case of a negative thought you inquire and then it lets go of you before any negative emotion arises.

 

This is what Adyashanti refers to as the thought falling away before it gains momentum.   It can do this when you see or hear the thought arise and you may feel it in your body and sense it.    

 

Mindfulness practice can be done by both formal or informal meditation.  It is related to being fully in the moment or present and in touch with your experience, with your thoughts, your emotions and sensations in the body.   Any and all of these (body, emotion, or thought) help us be mindful. 

 

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A turning point

 

I had practiced meditation over the years and many different kinds from mantras to the voice healing meditation (sounds), to Oshu and others.   Always starting and then stopping.

 

I remember that I was on holiday in South Africa, in one of the most beautiful places called Plettenburg bay together with my parents, my children, my brother Craig and his friend Simon.

 

My brother Craig had been practicing mindfulness for many years and I remember him often talking to me of Jon Kabat-Zinn. I had read Jon Kabat-Zinn's book    Wherever You Go, There You Are,thanks to Craig, or Jon and I had been meditating on and off for years. Simon who practices stress medicine said to me we are going to meditate do you want to come? I realized that I so did.  This was a turning point for me in my life. We sat for 30 minutes. The days that followed I continued to sit with them daily. Today I am very thankful for my daily mindful practice and can feel the great influence it has had on me.

 

Practicing being present

 

I believe that no matter what practice you choose.   The practice is what is important.   When we want to be good at something we should practice.   Practice can be in the form of a meditation or it could be simply taking the time and that moment in your day to be still and to be present.  

 

Mindfulness meditation teaches me how to be awake in the present moment and then when I do have a situation when I am challenged, when I am mindful then I choose how I want to behave and I control my thoughts and my emotions.   They do not control me.  

 

Human Being

 

Each of us is unique.   The practice that is right for me may not be right for another.   I am naturally a busy person so this means that I am so busy doing all the time.   Eckhart Tolle talks about a human being that we are human which is the doing and the being which is the non-doing and simply being. 

 

We need both. 

 

I was living the human side and the being was unconscious.     Through the being we can be and live in the present moment and be mindful and peaceful and full of love and joy.   The gift is to learn how to integrate the two.   To do and also be all at once.    In the beginning this requires

 

STOPing

 

STOP as a mindfulness practice 

S- Stop and be Still . When we are still we can notice more.   We can get in touch with our being.   This is why many meditation practices are still, like Vipassana which is a classic mindful meditation practice.   You sit with your legs crossed on the floor.   Your back upright.   Switch off all phones and ensure there is as little disturbance as possible.   Sit for even 1 minute.   Just sit quietly without moving and without any intention other than to just be.   You may want to turn within and see how your inner being is feeling. See recommended readings and audios for more assistance.   Infact you can stop anywhere.    I can stop typing now for instende

 

T - Take a few deep breaths and check in. 

O - Observe. 

 

Notice your thoughts.  

 

Where is your mind now? 

Is your mind and thoughts about something in the present moment or are your thinking of something in the past or the future.   When I stop I see how often my mind is planning.   It ok to plan when we do this consciously and purposefully in the present moment.

 

What about your emotions? 

How do you feel? 

What body sensations do you have? 

 

P - Proceed Purposefully  when you have been still and checked in then you decide when to proceed.   When you do then you proceed consciously and mindfully.

 

 

Time is not important - Practice is.

 

When I practice a sitting meditation where I sit still (almost no movement) and in silence then I am practicing Being.   Jon Kabat-Zinn describes it as a purposeful non-doing which is really being.   I so loved it when Jon Kabat-Zinn said that even sitting for 5 minutes is better than not sitting at all.   I have so embodied this.   My sitting varies in length of time and this is not what I believe is important.   Whereas I concentrated for the last two years on Vipassana meditation (sitting still), I now am practicing intermittently    a body scan meditation which is about being mindful of the body and sensations in the body.

Being Still

 

I have evolved to integrate more and more informal practice in my life and those of my clients.   This is because not everyone connects to the word meditation or the word mindfulness and for some it scares them.   When for example an executive comes to me for coaching to find a balance in her life or to reduce stress and increase productivity I introduce moments of stillness. 

 

Ekhart Tolle talks about this in all his books and has written a book entitled Stillness Speaks Stillness Speaks   

Tolle gives examples like:   At work sitting at the computer take a 30 second break and follow your breath going in and out or simply gaze at the plant on your desk for a few seconds.   At the end of this article are 2 stillness or mindfulness exercises

 

 

A Challenge

 

It’s a challenge.   The challenge is to be present and to watch the movie.   I am the observer.   In this way I introduce awareness into my mind.   I watch the mind and I can create a new dialogue and ask in return is this thought true or perhaps I want to say the same thing in my mind with a different energy or in a different way, perhaps being more accepting of what is.

 

See Also

Mind

Body

Soul

 

 

Exercise 1:

 

STILL at your desk

S -- stop and be still  for a few moments

T - Take a breath 

I - In , Go inside

L - Look within at your thoughts, feel your inner body.

L - Listen to that which is within

 

 

Exercise 2:

 

STILL in Nature

S -- stop and be still  for a few moments

T - Take a breath 

I - In , Feel the nature within you

L - Look at a leaf on a branch of a tree

 

 

Recommended readings:

 

Ekhart Tolle Stillnes Speaks  Stillness Speaks

 

Jack Kornfield    A path with heart A Path with Heart

 

 

 

 

 

                        

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