The First Steps to Mindfulness.
Bringing mindfulness into ones daily life is a challenge which many of us would not be prepared to countenance because of our busy schedules but the importance of recognising ones place in the universe is immeasurable. Mindfulness brings a sense of perspective, allowing us to notice what we have and feel grateful.
Small changes are all we need to begin our transformation. “Know thyself”, is one of the Delphic maxims and was inscribed in the pronaos of the Temple of Apollo at Delphi and Oscar Wilde followed this with “Over the portal of the new world, ‘Be Thyself’ shall be written”. But you have to discover who you are, in order to be it! Plato recognised that “The essence of knowledge is self-knowledge.” and we continually ask ‘Who am I?’ ‘How do I fit into the bigger picture?’ We begin to discover the answers by practicing mindfulness.
Modern society and science only take us increasingly far from the essential truth that all is one and only by taking the time to quietly listen to our hearts, our inner thoughts and feelings, can we find peace, forgiveness and gratefulness. Self knowledge and the journey towards it, are the food of our souls; our daily bread. As such, making a little time in our busy routines to begin to introduce mindfulness is essential to our wellbeing, our personal growth and our happiness.
There will be part of your day in which your body is active but your mind does not need to be fully engaged. If you cannot find 10 minutes a day to totally commit to improving your wellbeing, then these times of disengagement may be utilised to begin your transformation. These times might be found on a busy commuter train, in the shower, at the gym or for me, on my#WalkBeforeWork. One of the easiest routes into self awareness is through focus on breath and there are many texts which you can use to help you implement this first step.
Allow the rhythm of your body to dictate your breathing and focus on breathing deeply and evenly, something we rarely do. In fact the more stressed or over excited we become the shallower and more rapid our breathing becomes, so taking control of this essential function has an immediate impact on our heart rate and blood oxygen level. We become calmer and more peace full. For some a simple mantra may help to regulate breathing and bring a sense of calm and focus. Once this has been achieved, I like to start my day with a conscious act of self love.
In order to let light in to your life you must first learn to forgive yourself and to love yourself. How else can you love others, be truly grateful and be compassionate. Think about yourself. You have actively made the decision and the time to read this article and to perhaps begin a routine which allows you to move towards a radical transformation. That is an amazing first step. Forgive yourself your failings and recognise the good in yourself. Focussing on these positive aspects of yourself will make them easier to access throughout your day.
Be grateful. Draw up a list of the things in your morning, day, week, life, for which you are grateful. Be specific: Don’t just say “I am grateful for my partner” but detail a specific thing which your partner has done, for which you are grateful. This positive act with help you notice when anyone does something or when anything happens for which you are grateful.
Leave anger behind…easier said than done? Perhaps, but take the first steps and be compassionate to those who do not meet your high standard, who fail, who annoy the hell out of you! Go back to your breathing, you are practised, it is easier than it was for you to instil a sense of calm, to forgive, to move forward.
These first steps towards self knowledge are the first steps to unlocking your happiness and your fulfilment. Persevere in establishing them in your daily life and you will naturally progress towards greater self knowledge and wellbeing.