Saturday, 6 February 2016

The Art of Mindfulness

Mindfulness has been in the news a lot recently. Schools, universities and many large businesses are urging their pupils and employees to take up mindfulness to help them deal with the everyday stresses of modern life. Thousands of people are eager to praise it for its beneficial effect on their wellbeing, while others claim that practicing mindfulness can have detrimental outcome.

Mindfulness is the practice of being aware of one’s stream of consciousness, and the sensations one’s body experiences, being more attentive to the sights, sounds and smells of world around us and doing one’s best to live in the moment.   

I’ve had a longstanding, often sceptical, interest in meditation, so when a friend introduced me to mindfulness a few years ago I took the whole idea with a pinch of salt. At that time, I was going through a rough patch; I’d suffered a couple of personal traumas, my illness was pulling me down emotionally and creatively I was going nowhere. So, I thought I’d give it a go and see what happens. My friend lent me a C.D. and every day for three or four weeks, I sat down to do my daily 20-minute meditation. I didn’t know what to expect or what I wanted to happen but I did it anyway. There were no flashing lights or banging gongs, but gradually I did start to notice a change.

I began to question things about myself (somewhere along the line, I’d lost my sense of self. I didn’t have a clue what my motivation for writing was, never mind painting or photography), and the more I questioned the more I found out. I noticed other changes, too. Things I wouldn’t normally have given a second glance became interesting, I felt more at peace with the world, and strangely, for me, I felt at one with things in general. I began to accept myself, the world and my place in it. I guess you could say ‘I found myself.’ I re-discovered my passion for art (writing, painting and photography), and I started to pursue my passions with a newfound enthusiasm.

I still practice mindfulness every day, and I’m glad to report that it still works. My illness still gives me hell, it’s hard being in pain day in, day out, but practicing mindfulness has helped me accept that is just the way it is.

Mindfulness is something I highly recommend. In a fast moving world where everything moves at such a frenetic pace we don’t always appreciate what we have around us. Artists, writers and photographers need inspiration and slowing down for twenty minutes every day certainly helped me find some of that golden elixir.

For more information on mindfulness click Here.               

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