RFSK 147_c3857257de94ef5be17291549d8b02b8
Everyday Mindfulness at St Katharine’s: learning to respond to life mindfully rather than reacting mindlessly.What does it mean to be mindful? Essentially, mindfulness means to be present and in the moment. It is important that we remind ourselves of the simple fact that, according to recent research, we spend up to 50 percent of our time caught up in our thoughts; a proven contributing factor to our unhappiness. Instead of drifting through our lives in a daze, consumed by thoughts of what could have been or planning those things which our out of our control in the first place, mindfulness allows us to engage with the here and now and approach our lives with greater clarity and peace of mind.Why Everyday Mindfulness? Because mindfulness is normal; it is not something special, limited to meditators, mystics, academics or psychologists. It is a simple and any human being can develop skillfulness so that being in the present moment is who we are.Why Every Day Mindfulness? Because mindfulness requires a commitment to regular practice. If there is no commitment, then the mind can easily be drawn back into its old ways. Modern life holds so many distractions and it bombards us with so much information that our minds become caught up in the .Most of us find ourselves frequently ‘swept away’ by the current of thoughts and feelings, worries, pressures, responsibilities; wanting things to be different from how they are right now. This can be particularly powerful when we are faced with pain, difficulties and illness that confound our attempts to find a solution or to feel better. Feeling stuck in this way can be draining. Mindfulness can help us to work directly with the struggle we sometimes have in relating to lifes experience and in doing so can really improve the quality of our life. Mindfulness is the direct opposite to taking life for granted. It is not something strange, nor is it attached to any belief system. It is about being yourself and developing a better understanding of who you really are. Mindfulness allows us to see what is really present in our lives, to become aware of the things that cause stress and suffering for us. By paying attention we can begin to see that much of our stress and difficulty arises from wishing that things were other than they are, and not allowing things to be as they are.

Anxiety and Fear – Through the practice of Mindfulness it is possible to become more familiar with the thought patterns that are responsible for both anxiety and fear. Most of these thoughts are future based and not necessarily to be believed although they are extremely realistic and very tenacious. By paying attention to thoughts as they arise, it becomes clear that many of the thoughts that cause the anxiety or fear are not in fact true. Many of them are habitual ways of reacting to situations, and Mindfulness can help us to see other ways of responding more skilfully to the same situation.

Cultivating the skill of kindness towards yourself when anxious or fearful helps to move from reactivity and self judgement to a position where you can care for yourself in this painful and uncomfortable state. The skills of self compassion can be very supportive when experiencing states of fear and anxiety.

Stress – When we pay attention to stress we can see that it is a combination of many different emotional, physical and mental states. It has shades of fear, anxiety, worry, depression, tension and being out of control of events in life. By taking a greater interest in what is happening when feeling stressed and pausing, even for a moment, a small gap is created in experience. It then becomes possible to respond more Mindfully and avoid the knee-jerk reactivity that is all too familiar, often leading us to places that encourage even more stress.

Pain – Through developing Mindfulness, one can see that pain is a process and not a fixed condition. It then becomes easier to change ones relationship to the painful condition rather than being locked into aversive reactions to it. It is helpful to see that there is a primary and secondary suffering with pain. The primary suffering is the experience of physical pain such as pinching, burning, nausea, fatigue etc. and the secondary suffering is made up of all the mental and emotional responses to these discomforts such as aversion, anger, depression, anxiety, avoidance and catastrophising. Mindfulness can help to reduce the suffering of pain through allowing things be as they are in this moment and by watching any extra tensions arising.

But you don’t need to be unhappy, stressed out or unwell to learn mindfulness, because mindfulness isn’t about illness it’s about wellness, it’s about waking up to life and learning to live with a greater intensity, richness and fulfillment.