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5 Essential Aspects Of Practising Mindfulness

Written by: Scott Robinson, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

 

Mindfulness has been extremely popular for a while now. It is promoted as a solution to stress reduction, performance at work and a way of cultivating greater compassion.

gold human figure meditating on body of water.

But what exactly is mindfulness? There are many interpretations. The one that I like the most is from my mindfulness meditation teacher, Cyndi Lee.


When asked what mindfulness is, Cyndi will say, 'mindfulness is placing the mind'. When you place the mind on an object of attention, you bring that object into your awareness. By bringing that object into your awareness, you immediately come into the present moment. When you come into the present moment, an opportunity to adopt new attitudes arise; whether it be curiosity, kindness, patience etc...


5 essential aspects of mindfulness


1. Do one thing at a time

In the modern era, multi-tasking is common. However, when practising mindfulness, the object is to do just one thing at a time. The famous Zen advice is: 'When you sit, just sit. When you walk, just walk. Do not wobble.'


When you do one thing at a time, you start to feel calmer and more present. When you feel calmer and more present, you begin to appreciate things for what they are. The central idea is to understand what your central action in the situation is. Once the central action is identified, simply attend to that task.


Often you may find that it is difficult to do one thing at a time, especially if anxiety is present. In these situations, breathe into the feeling and notice what comes up. Accepting the situation is the key to moving through whatever is on your mind.


Doing one thing at a time will improve your productivity as your concentration is not disturbed. As the mind develops a laser-like focus on what it is doing, you will become more organised and efficient. As a result, that never-ending to-do list will become that much shorter.


2. Pay attention to the task at hand

When you pay attention fully to what you are doing, then your experience of that task begins to change. Even the most mundane or routine become more enjoyable. When you begin to focus on every moment, the desire to finish the task quickly ceases.


As an example, take cleaning the dishes. Most people would see that task as arduous or boring. Yet, if you focus on every moment whilst cleaning the dishes, you become fully present. You may even enjoy the experience, especially observing the shiny, clean dishes after they has been cleaned.


On the other hand, as soon as you begin to rush through cleaning the dishes, you are no longer present. You have become a 'victim of time'.


Furthermore, by being fully present and paying careful attention to what you are doing, you will begin to appreciate things more. You will also begin to have a sense of agency. Knowing that you have control over some things in your life can help bring stability. It will also assist with letting go of things that you have no control over. This helps bring greater peace of mind.


3. When the mind wanders, start again

The essence of mindfulness is very simple. Place the mind on its object of attention. Whenever the mind wanders, notice that it has wandered. Then, bring the mind back to its chosen object of attention. In this context, when you practise mindfulness as a meditation, it is about 'consciously' placing the mind.

When you notice that the mind has wandered, then you have a choice. You can either continue with that distraction or thought. Or you can simply choose to pause and start again. Practising mindfulness then brings back a sense of agency or control into your life.


4. Be kind to yourself

The nature of mindfulness is to come back into the present moment. So, there is a need to come back 'from something'. That 'something' is a necessary part of the practice. It simply does not matter how many times you bring your mind back. So when the mind wanders, particularly when the mind is active, be kind to yourself. Just notice that the mind is very busy and acknowledge your inherent human nature.


5. 'Touch into your object'

As you practise mindfulness, begin to sense and feel whatever is in your awareness. 'Touch into your object' and notice the clarity of mind, even for a small fraction of time. Investigate the feeling through whatever sense is predominant, whether it be auditory, visual, kinesthetic, tactile, or gustatory. Feel yourself dropping into that moment as if nothing mattered in the world ‒ everything else is a mere projection of mind. Ground yourself in that feeling and come back to it during the rest of the day when you begin to feel off-centred.


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Scott Robinson, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Scott Robinson is a Finance Professional and Yoga Teacher. He is also the founder of Yogibanker ‒ a specialised yoga & wellbeing service for the financial services industry. He helped found 'dbYoga' at Deutsche Bank, one of the world's leading financial services companies as well as leading regular mindfulness sessions under the brand of 'Mindfulness Mondays'. Over the years, Scott has helped hundreds of finance professionals become stronger, more flexible and less stressed through yoga & mindfulness. Scott's passion is to bring yoga & wellbeing to the financial services industry ‒ one that is kinder, more sustainable with wellbeing at its core.


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