The Paradox of Mindfulness

We’re delighted to feature this brief blog post by Singhashri Gazmuri, who is the Programme Director at Breathworks.

Life these days can be hectic. We all know what it’s like to go from morning until night without even remembering what we ate for lunch by the time our head hits the pillow at the end of the day. And in that hecticness, it’s easy to reach for food, shopping, alcohol, TV, or the internet to “veg out.” But when life gets really hard, we may find that these strategies only provide temporary, and quite honestly, paltry, relief. We realise at the most stressful, anxious, or frustrating times in our lives that something else is needed. A new way to deal.

Imagine for a moment, that instead of doing the same old thing, you did the complete opposite? What if, instead of turning off, you turned on? What if, instead of zoning out, you zoned in? What if we didn’t see our problems as problems at all, but just another part of what it means to be human and alive? Mindfulness is a practice that asks us to think outside the box. It is a practice that asks us to stop running away from our problems, and begin to bring them into the fold.

Mindfulness asks us to change our relationship to our lives, and by impliation, ourselves. So that, instead of turning away from the things we find difficult, we actually stop resisting, and begin to turn towards our own pain with kindness towards ourselves. This might be the pain of a stressful job, emotionally challenging relationship, or long-term health condition. Often, we can feel harangued by life’s difficulties, but with mindfulness, we get to decide how to respond to what life throws our way. We build an internal resiliance that can meet life’s ups and downs.

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The promise of mindfulness is the promise of a full life. A life full of sorrow and joy, loss and gain. With mindfulness, we learn to meet all of life as it unfolds, greet each moment with curiosity and love, and grow and learn in new and surprising ways.

And the great thing about mindfulness is you don’t have to “do” anything. The only pre-requisite is that you are willing to find out for yourself what a life of “being” means for you. Mindfulness begins quite simply. We simply start where we are, no need to change anything.

We pause and take a moment to notice what is actually going on (as opposed to what we think is going on). The feeling of the weight of the body in the feet, air on our skin, breath in our lungs, sounds in our ears. And in that pause, we begin to notice things. Birdsong, the softness of clothing against the skin, the quality of light coming through the window. Whatever you find, it’s yours for that moment to be experienced fully and fully felt.

Thoughts may come and go, but we don’t have to believe them. We can simply come back, over and over again. In that space there may also be a difficulty, a strong emotion or physical pain, so we tend to that, with self-compassion. We make space for ourselves, and we meet our own suffering like we would meet the suffering of a small child. It’s that simple, and that profound.

Breathworks run a variety of Mindfulness Taster classes, workshops and retreats facilitated by highly experienced and qualified teachers. To find out more visit their site.

Singhashri Gazmuri
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