Do you remember the Ladybird book series that we all used in school to learn to read? Titles such as, The Farmer, The Postman, The Nurse gave us an insight into the working lives of people using words and pictures. (Other titles included: The Motor Car, The Rocket, The Carpenter, The Builder.!) Reading these books had fallen out of fashion for many years, but unexpectedly they made a return, just in time for the Christmas market in 2015. Achieving best seller status a number of Ladybird titles, albeit a spoof on the originals, appeared. These included ‘The Ladybird Book on Mindfulness’, selling over 100,000 copies. This achievement came as no big surprise as it’s hard to avoid the Mindfulness subject – it’s on apps, the web, eBooks, practised by celebrities and now in the Ladybird series.
Recently an article appeared in The Times newspaper with the headline: ‘Free your mind: violent prisoners are given meditation lessons’. The idea was simple enough – the art of meditation or Mindfulness relieves stress and anger, allowing the individual to live in the present moment, being aware of feelings and controlling them. The article said that Prisoners who are taught the practice of Mindfulness are likely to be more stable and in control of their emotions and less prone to violent or angry outbursts.
The Mindfulness practice dates back to the very early Buddhist tradition of meditation which is believed can provide people with more of an insight and understanding into their emotions, improve relationships and boost concentration.
So, how does it work? It is a simple practice which only takes about 10 minutes twice a day. Here are simple steps to follow: Stand or sit comfortable, keeping the spine straight. Relax your shoulders and place your hands on your lap or at your side. Exhale deeply feeling the diaphragm move in and out. Slowly breathe through your nose and again feel the diaphragm move in and out. Pause. Slowly breathe out through your nose and again feel the diaphragm move in and out.
If your mind wanders – don’t worry, you haven’t failed! Simply bring your mind back to the breathing, be aware of what you have been thinking about and then gently return to mind to the breathing.
The wandering is completely normal. Repeat the process for five minutes or longer if you like, twice a day.
Try it and become one of the countless people who are discovering for themselves the value of being Mindful in the present moment, living for the now and not for what might or could happen later.
Focus on the now. Stop waiting for life to happen. Stop waiting for a better moment than the one you have had in the past or are hoping for in the future. Step into the present.
Pause, look and listen to the things around you*
Just take this moment to stop and be; bringing attention to yourself, noticing yourself in this moment. Guide yourself around this moment. You might notice things around you like objects, sounds, feelings; there might be expectations, other people, or just your plain old breathing. Notice all of them. Acknowledge them without trying to get rid of them or following them. Simply let them be, and let yourself be with them. Take a minute or two. Literally, enjoy yourself.