Mindfulness is the practice of witnessing and accepting, moment by moment, what goes on in our mind and body. It helps us awaken to ‘what is’ — unspoiled by wishful thinking.
This morning, wide awake but not ready to enter the rainy day, I stayed in bed with Johann Sebastian on the radio. My mind went this way and that, reflecting on my distant stepmother’s death last week, drones over Libia, my financial situation, a neighbour’s complaints about parking in front her house, the state of my lower back, next sunday’s 10k run … well, you see where this was going. Monkey mind, swinging from thought to thought, being anywhere but present.
Bringing attention first to my breath, I became aware of body tension which soon led to relaxation. Nothing special, simply noticing. Instead of proceeding systematically — as one might with isometric or body scanning techniques — I turned my radar inwards to receive whatever signals came to my awareness.
Instantly my jaw unclenched, muscles twitched, belly softened, all of “me” felt warm as if embraced. Devoid of urgency and compulsion to intrude, thoughts faded into the background. The mere act of attending — not doing anything to fix or alter — brought about this reduction of stress.
Then something interesting: the moment I stopped paying attention things got tense again: teeth clenched, belly tightened, and thoughts returned full blast. Made me wonder what it does to my general state of health, this constant way of living in tension.
Click here for information on our next ‘mindful living’ course. image: jonandlizlarsen.com