Mind full vs Mindful - Stay conscious, stay in the moment, and be present.
These are the buzz words that come to us from social media posts, titles of self-help books and philosophies from countless new age gurus and reformed celebrities. Yet they are not new preaching, but date back centuries to ancient religions. Around the 6th to 5th centuries BCE, in Taoist China and Buddhist India, meditation practice had already begun.
Life as we know it today, has been accelerated by the speed of technology. How do we stop and literally take the time to smell the coffee, see the sunset, listen to the music and just appreciate without feeling the need to multi task? How do we achieve this amidst the business of life, the deadlines and the demands of work, family and friends?
WE BREATHE i.e. SLOW CONSCIOUS BREATHING. It’s effective and requires no special surroundings and no intricate technique.
I personally use conscious breathing to still my mind and fall into a deep, peaceful sleep night after night. I have used it to manage my anxiety, to gain perspective and assist in making decisions. Trust me, it really works. Breathing consciously is like a gentle vacuum cleaner, clearing the mind, bringing in calming, fresh energy.
Yesterday I took a walk on the beach and tried a different approach to my usual stroll i.e. not reflecting on the past week, not projecting into the future week, just staying in the moment. Previously I‘ve observed my surroundings, when doing a beach walk, but today I really noticed the cloud formations, the ocean’s mossy green colour and the erratic tumbling of the waves. I felt the wet sand below my feet and noticed the tiny holes, burrowed into the sand by conical sea creatures. I inhaled the light fragrance of the cool sea breeze blowing off the ocean. I marvelled at the shaft of sunlight peeping through the grey, feathery clouds, heralding the start of a beautiful sunny day.
It was because I remained present and didn’t allow my mind to wander to what I would need to do when back at the office on Monday, or the latest conversations I’ve had, nor did I analyse previous weeks, months and years’ worth of irrelevant information, that I was able to have a “mini” holiday, be it for only 40 minutes. Engaging all my senses left me energised, refreshed and grateful.
In 2011 Sara Lazar and her team at Harvard University found that mindfulness meditation can change the structure of the brain in 8 weeks. It increases the cortical thickness in the hippocampus, which governs learning and memory.
So here goes….(drum roll) my challenge to all “The Symbols On Silk “ friends. Choose a task / chore and try remaining mindful of every nuance as you go through the motions of completing the task. It may be as mundane as waiting in the supermarket queue or being held up at traffic light or perhaps polishing a pair of silver candle sticks. Stay present and just breathe….in to the count of 4…… hold your breath for 7 (if you can) and breath out slowly to the count of 8. You will find yourself feeling calmer and gain better perspective.
Good luck to all the Symbols on Silk friends. Send us your tips on how you remain Mindful, Present and Conscious and stand a chance to win a beautiful sterling silver Breathe bar necklace or bracelet on silk, Calm necklace or Balance necklace on a sterling silver chain. We will select the best contribution to add to our soon to be established blog page, with your permission of course.
Watch this space as we invite all SOS friends to share useful information / experiences with us so that we become enlightened, motivated and informed. Let’s strive to be high functioning individuals without the pressure of beating ourselves up for just “being” and not always feeling the need to be “doing”.
Stay connected and let’s pass on the collective wisdom.
With love and gratitude.
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