MeditateToronto google+A life lived consciously is filled with mindful attention toward, and respect for every moment. The practice of mindfulness is widely used in modern health care to alleviate stress, pain, weight problems, emotional suffering such as depression, anxiety, anger, grief.

Mindfulness is recognizing things as they are not as they should be. Things are what they are whether we want them to be this way or not, and mostly we don’t, yet still they are.

It’s easy to get caught up into thinking about the way we want things to be, the way things should be, and what’s wrong with the way they are. If we could see things without our attachment to outcomes, we would have a chance to act with intentionality.

With practice, it becomes easier to notice things and not be drawn into them. With awareness, we have the ability to respond and not to just react. When we are mindfully aware of ourselves and our surroundings, we are fully present to our experiences, to others, and to our environment. We are in a position to make choices that reflect our true values, intention, and concern for ourselves and others.

You can start the practice of mindfulness now. You start by:

Following your breath – Thich Nhat Hanh writes: ‘Breathing is the vehicle that carries concentration. We begin through the awareness of breathing, so that later, when we need to contemplate, we will be able to direct the mind’.

Sitting quietly – For a period of five to ten minutes just sit and do nothing but observe your thoughts, the sounds, smells and other sensations. Notice them come and go.

Finding small ways to practice – At first, eat a fruit slowly, focusing on its shape, colour, smell, feel, taste and texture. Walk with awareness, feel you feet touching the ground, the heel first then the ball and toes.

Being aware of your internal dialogue – Observe your thoughts, notice what they say, notice what they ask, want, demand you to do. Notice that you have a choice and do not have to do what they say. There may be hell in your head and nothing is happening outside. See the emotions that follow. Notice again that you do not have to do what they are telling you to do.

Developing meditative practice is best done along with other people who have experience practising. It can be a group, or your therapist.