Do you struggle with the company you keep in those empty moments…..? meaning yourself, and then seem to have a lot on your mind, or even look for things to fill your mind with; such as thoughts, images and fantasies, emotional reactions, or external stimulus, in order to avoid what may be going on inside you? If so, you would be quite normal, but this does not necessarily lead to peace of mind, even though your distractions may seem to temporarily provide relief. In a busy and frantic world it is seldom realised that the mind, too, needs to come to rest.
It is important to learn how to befriend our inner world. This brings us into a better relationship with what is happening inside us and leads to greater self awareness and self acceptance. Greater awareness allows greater choice and this is empowering. As we befriend the empty moments, we may find that the mind can become peaceful and the body at ease. We may also find that the mind can become agitated and the body restless. There may be thoughts that judge or even ridicule ourselves or others. Sometimes there can be feelings that need careful empathic attention. When we can calmly abide with ourselves without judgment, while directly experiencing our breath, our body, and the arising and passing of thoughts, feelings/sensations and emotions, whatever they may be, we will find an inner stability.
This is the path of Mindfulness meditation. Mindfulness is a meditative practice which is over 2500 years old and is practised by most spiritual traditions. It has also become a secular practice in the modern world and is embraced by the NHS. It benefits are widely recognised by many therapeutic models, and it has also been researched and documented in the field of neuroscience. Scientists claim that the regular practice of Mindfulness meditation can literally restructure the brain.
I think of Mindfulness as a practice of self care, self honouring and self appreciation. It is a simple practice of just sitting still and paying non judgemental attention to the breath and the body. It is so simple that our minds which have been conditioned toward distraction make this practice seem quite complex and difficult. Its takes practice, persistence and above all patience. Patience brings us into the here and now. Our impatience is often the result of our difficulty in tolerating our here and now experience.
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