Updated: Sep 19, 2018
Being "mindful" is the freshest trend, well not really but kind of. It seems everyone is talking about it and I just want to add my two cents! (-;
Over the years I had been told by many people that I would really benefit from meditating, but I found the whole idea of sitting still while I emptied my mind a terrifying prospective, and all but impossible! I'm the kind of person with meerkat animal medicine, if I'm not thinking and/or doing 3 or 16 things at once I have an overwhelming need to fill empty space, well at least this was me around 5 years ago. I thought that meditating had to be sitting in a lotus position for hours, straining the shit out of my ankles and leaving me with a numb bum, or ommmmming from 4am until the sun peaked over the earth's curtain, or satisfying the status quo by joining a meditation group of other busy minds just to talk about how "empty the space was that we just filled". But in recent light of meditation joining forces with mindfulness I have found many activities that actually put me in the flow state, and these are considered forms of meditation, hallelujah I'm saved!!!
There was a pivotal moment, upon returning from one of my usual 5km runs that I felt a different kind of rejuvenated. When I asked myself why I felt so good, I remembered that on that run, unlike any other, I had managed to not think about anything, for at least 5 mins! This was a real light bulb moment, I thought heck this is what I've been missing out on, then my mind began to race with all the possibilities as it did before and still does, even after years of mindfulness practise. So next morning I consciously tried it again, it didn't work quite as well, I thought about not thinking a little too much. So next morning I thought, instead of trying to think about it I will try focusing on something that is constant and repetitive, like my breathing, or the steps I took, or the sound of wind going past my ear, or the feeling of my heart beating in my chest. I just won the jackpot, the sweepstakes and the raffle all at once, here I was unknowingly (as I wasn't aware of it at the time) meditating, or being mindful, or mindless really. If thoughts would come in, what to cook for dinner, what colour was the sky, why do birds fly, I would gently smile and return my focus to the repetitive motion of my chosen focus and my mind would clear again.
Our brain is trained to think, it is trained to negotiate with itself, to be objective of everything in the world, hold opinions, be responsible, stand out, fit in, and when you try to tell it to stop, well it's not easy to start with but by finding an activity that gets you in a flow state, an activity that is comfortable yet challenging (running, painting, surfing, gardening etc) and focusing on one thing in particular, then the grip of thought can be released.
And what does this actually do? Why is it so important to stop thinking for a while, to be mindful, to have a clear mind? For me it helps me deal with stress, it helps me listen to the quiet voice of my heart, it helps me feel more in the moment, it helps me start the day with clear intentions, on the other hand it helps me step out of the constant banter that clouds my vision, it helps me control the voice when it starts getting a bit cocky or negative, it helps me to remain focused on certain tasks that need to be done and take in the beauty and gratitude for living. I think it's different for everyone but one thing is for sure, the practise can't hurt you!
I hope you find your flow state and learn to be in the moment, present and mindful in more activities every day. Peace man xx Alana