..........slow down.......take a breath.......be in the moment.......hold your thoughts & feelings as gently as you would a baby bird.......let them go.......just be..........

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Mindfulness and the Present Moment

One of the key aspects of Mindfulness is being in the present moment.  But what does that mean?  One of the signs for me that I am there, or at least, getting there is when I hear a bird sing.  This does not mean remembering hearing the bird sing or waiting to hear the bird sing.  However, listening for the bird's song and remembering I heard it can be reminders to me to "just be there."

Going through therapy for panic attacks, one of the phrases that stood out to me was "Just let it be there."  Just letting it--the racing heart, shortness of breath, spinning thoughts--be there is really a challenge.  When I am having a panic attack, my body and mind seem to instinctively do the exact opposite of what I know will help.

As I have a wonderful imagination, the "What if?" question can come up with many not so wonderful answers when I am having a panic attack.  Granted, there are times when my great imagination is a positive thing, but when I am having a panic attack, it is not helpful.

But, not everyone has panic attacks, so how is being in the present moment even something to pursue for "normal" people?

I think that the most beneficial answer to that question is awareness.  This type of awareness is when you see how your response to a situation is really based on preconceived ideas influenced by your own experiences.  If we are in the present moment, not the past or the future, we let go of our preconceived ideas and judgements.

From a Christian perspective, I have seen how this can be so beneficial in my prayer life.  Instead of coming to God with my own agenda, I am able to let go and simply sit awhile in the presence of God.   Spiritual practices like prayer are called "practices" for a reason.  Like Mindfulness, they are something intentional that you need to practice in order to learn.

There is so much good information out there on Mindfulness, that I hesitate trying to express all my own struggling thoughts on the matter.  Yet, I have also seen how certain words find resonance with me, and help me understand it better.  Maybe the present moment is not so much a destination to something or somewhere as it is a journey with something.

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