Have you ever decided to practice a full week of mindfulness meditation and only after a few days you gave up?
Was it because it was hard to be mindful?
There is this misconception that being mindful and aware of the present moment is hard, which is not really true.
And to prove it to you, I would like you to take a few deep breaths – no need to close your eyes or anything, you can do this anywhere you are.
So, take a deep breath and be aware of the movement of your abdomen or chest.
Seriously, do it now!
Are you able to notice the movement of your body along with the breath? If yes, then you can be mindful just fine!
Now, I would like you to continue breathing normally, just let your lungs do the breathing on their own. And for the next few moments, keep on noticing the movement on your abdomen or your chest or your shoulders. No need to change the way you breathe, just let the air move freely in and out of your body.
Was your mind distracted? Did you try to change your breath, and in the process, you lost focus from the movement of your abdomen?
What I wanted to demonstrate to you, is the fact that it’s actually quite easy to become mindful and aware of the present moment. What is hard though is to stay mindful, to remain present.
And there are a few reasons for that, which as you may have guessed, they have to do with our mind.
One of the reasons that we are considered high intelligent species is because of our ability to solve complex problems, that’s what has helped us to progress so much. Our mind is a problem-solving machine, and it is great on what it does. When there is a problem, it finds solutions.
However, there are times that our mind creates problems out of habit or for the sake of it, without us seeking any solutions!
For me personally, this happens all the time. For example, I notice all the nice things that may happen to me and then I start to worry because my wife doesn’t answer her phone – did something happen to her?
As you can see, there is no solution here (apart perhaps from being patient), but the worry, the anxiety, the stress appear.
And I presume, you have experienced yourself, how hard it is to be present and appreciate the gifts of life when you worry about your numerous problems.
Another reason that it is hard to be present is because most of the times, paradoxically, we live in the past or in the future. Our minds have the ability to conceptualise the past and the future. And again, this is an incredible ability, which has made humans jump to the top of the pyramid.
We can go back and learn from our past mistakes as we can make plans for the future.
Children (and I can see this from my son) can be present so easily; they don’t have to try it. It seems that being present is an innate ability of humans. But as we grow, as responsibilities, routines, habits, addictions make their way into our lives, we lose our control of stay mindful.
Mindfulness is a skill
In the previous weeks, I shared with you that being mindful is a skill and the more we practice mindfulness the better we become.
So, go on and finish that full of week of mindfulness meditations that you have started and given up so many times.
Don’t expect to see any results immediately. As with any skill, it takes time and dedication for the benefits to emerge. Go on and have your mind’s eyes open so when the calmness and peace reach your door, be there to appreciate each moment you live and breath and experience life.
By the way, if you want to try out mindfulness the hard way, I would suggest you try out a Vipassana. It’s a 10 days silent meditation retreat and they take place all around the world.
These retreats are free so they get full fast, for more information check:
I had an amazing experience through Vipassana, and perhaps I will share it with you in the future.
But till there, take care.