Mindfulness Training Exercises
When was the last time you laughed out loud without any reason. When was the last time you did nothing? When was the last time you slept peacefully like a baby? Do you recall those childhood years where you never thought of the next day?
If I ask you to switch off the lights or the fan; you would stand up, walk to the wall and turn off the switch. The mind of a human being runs about 70000 thoughts each day; with 95% repetitive thoughts. If I ask you to switch off your mind, where would you reach out to? Where is the “switch off” OR the “regulator” button for our mind? Does it exist?
In today world, we are filled with so many events and happenings around us, our minds cannot be stilled even for a moment. Each day fills us with greater and greater stress. The timelines are becoming narrower. The need to respond is becoming quicker. Everything is shrinking us down into a soakpit from which we may never emerge.
Is there a tool or a technique, which if systematically done, can pull us out of the soakpit into a more serene atmosphere. Fortunately there are few.
Lets study the umbrella under which they fall under: Mindfulness. The definition of Mindfulness as per wiki is – The quality or state of being conscious or aware of something.
A mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.
Lets take an analogy of a pen. The body is denoted by the main structure of the pen, and the mind is denoted by the lid of the pen. Most of the times, the pen is disjointed, which means that the mind is far away from the body.
The first step in mindfulness is to get the lid back to the structure of the pen. The initial tools of the practice focus on using the breath to draw awareness to the present moment. In yogic scriptures, this is denoted by “pranayama” which focuses on the life force behind the breath which permeates to all cells in the body.
We respect the fact that emotions play a vital role in conserving the energy within our system. Negative emotions can have debilitating effects on our system.
Lets try to analyse this a bit more scientifically. A decade ago, Masaru Emoto of Japan chanced upon an experiment when he had two bottles of water which he labelled as LOVE and the other as HATE. He left these bottles out in the view of everyone that passed by who inadvertently started thinking of LOVE when they saw this bottle and of HATE when they saw this bottle. After a week or so; he noticed the result. The one named LOVE was sparkling crystal clear and the one named HATE had turned black. Spurred on, he went on to conduct 1300 more experiments with various words like Joy, Compassion, Prayer to name a few and he began studying the crystals of water through a microscope. He noticed that the crystals for the positive words were looking beautiful, symmetrical and pristine. The crystals for the negative words looked horrifying.
What is the relevance of such a story. We must realize that we as humans are composed of 70% water. Hence 70% of our physiological system behaves in this manner for a positive thought or emotion and they behave in this manner for a negative thought or emotion.
Mindfulness techniques attempt to convert negative emotions into constructive ones through a series of practical tested techniques, which if done systematically does provide the necessary results.
This article is a short exposition on the basics of “Mindfulness”.