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It probably didn’t escape you that mindfulness is quite a buzzword. You can hear it and read it everywhere, even on your smartphone. And that’s fine, actually. We’re all at different stages in our life journey and it’s a good thing that we get many chances to cross paths with mindfulness, that we get to try different approaches.

However, did you notice how some words or expressions are sometimes so familiar that we end up forgetting what they really mean? What is mindfulness and what is mindfulness meditation, after all?

Well, people write books to answer that question, so I thought that I would humbly start by looking at what it isn’t and simply try to see things more clearly.

 

1 Definition

Thich Nhat Hahn defines mindfulness as the capacity to be in the present moment, to be fully aware of the here and now. Practising mindfulness means practising “I’m here“, it means coming back home in you, here, now.

“Life can be found only in the present moment. The past is gone, the future is not yet here, and if we do not go back to ourselves in the present moment, we cannot be in touch with life. ” Thich Nhat Hahn
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7 points

1. meditation is not mindfulness.

It’s the practice we use to train the mind to reach the mindfulness. I was confused about this in the beginning.

2. TO MEDITATE DOESN’T MEAN TO THINK 

It’s not about analyzing but about feeling. Overthinking is my default mode, so you can bet that it wasn’t easy in the beginning! It was quite clear that I wasn’t supposed to think about things but I didn’t know what to do with my brain,  a bit like when you don’t know what to do with your hands. Until I understood point number 3.

3. It doesn’t mean not thinking.

It’s neither about emptying your head nor about avoiding thinking, which is impossible by the way. Mindful meditation means grounding yourself in the present moment by focusing on your breath, your sensations. It also means being aware of the moment when your brain starts to chat about your day at work, the meeting you have tomorrow, the dishes, the last book you’ve read, an upsetting remark, the car bill, life before and after death… Our brain chats a lot, right?! The practice is not about blocking our thoughts but it’s about observing them without letting them embark you in ruminations. Ultimately, it’s about being the guardian of your inner space.

4. It’s not a relaxation technique

Meditation definitely helps to feel calm and to manage your stress level, but the goal is to be in a state of vigilance.

Photo by Maarten Deckers on Unsplash
5. IT’S NOT DETACHMENT

It’s not about becoming detached from your emotions. Just as it’s not about avoiding thinking, it’s not about feeling nothing. On the contrary, you focus on your sensations and emotions, whether they’re agreeable or not. The practice then is all about not judging them, welcoming them and letting them go.

6. It’s not necessarily about sitting doing nothing. 

Yes, you have to turn the autopilot off and to slow down, but mindfulness is meant to infuse your everyday life. You don’t need to have a formal practice and sit down if you don’t want to. You can practise mindfulness with your daily tasks, like brushing your teeth, shower, washing up, walking… It’s important to understand that it’s not necessarily another thing to do in your already very busy life.

7. IT’s SIMPLE BUT IT’s NOT ALWAYS EASY 

I’m not going to lie! It’s not always easy but it doesn’t really matter as long as you don’t judge yourself.

AND 1 EXERCISE

You want to try? Start perhaps with an informal practice. When you wake up next morning, set the intention of turning the autopilot off as often as you can. Then, every time you remember to do it, look around you and focus on something: the people, the sky, the flowers if there’s any, anything. Look and focus – that’s your present. Every time your mind wants to take you away from this present moment, bring it back gently to the here and now and focus again on your surroundings.

It can last only a few minutes and it’s a breathe of fresh air and clarity in your busy day. It’s such a relief!

Prenez soin de vous!

Et si cet article vous a plu, merci de le partager.smile

Lectures

La Méditation de Pleine Conscience, Christophe André – Cerveau & Psycho n°41

Le Miracle de la Pleine Conscience, Thich Nhat Hahn

Le Pouvoir du Moment Présent, Ekhart Tolle

Au Coeur de la Tourmente, la Pleine Conscience, Jon Kabat-Zinn