To put it simply, mindfulness is about being present in the moment. It is a technique which takes a lot of practice to become second nature, but once learned it can be applied to any aspect of your everyday life. It is a way of thinking and a way of living that can be transformative, and can literally change your way of looking at the world around you. As soon as you become present in the moment, all your worries and fears fade away and you are able to immerse yourself in the activity, feeling or experience.
When we put aside our worries we become momentarily freed from the anxiety that is causing that worry. It is in the future, and therefore does not exist. It is not tangible in the moment. So it can be acknowledged, and then put aside. In a similar way, we can deal with obsessive thoughts when we go over and over situations that have already taken place. These things are in the past, and therefore do not exist. We worked through it, and now we have moved on.
Sometimes future thinking has a place and a purpose – to help us make important decisions we need to apply ourselves in that future place. A new job, a new house, a new partner. But ruminating over possible outcomes of not finishing the laundry, or what to have for lunch on Sunday is not effective decision making, and these are things that can be put aside. When you notice that you are over-thinking or worrying about something, try and put the thought to one side and focus your attention on what is right in front of you. The television, the view, your children, a cup of tea. Whatever it is, let it be everything in that moment. Breathe deeply and calmly and be present. Your cup of tea – what does it smell like? What colour has it turned now you’ve added some milk? What patterns are reflected on the surface? Is there steam rising from the mug? Does the mug warm your hands as you pick it up? It’s just a cup of tea, but at that moment it is everything to you. It’s the nicest cup of tea you’ve ever had!.
This is ‘nowness’ and it can be learned. It’s the beginnings of meditation and so accessible that anyone can do it and be successful.
It does take practice. Try it today – whilst making that well-earned cup of tea. I promise you, it will taste amazing.