Foundations of Mindfulness
So now let's talk about the foundations of mindfulness what is mindfulness and how can we really benefit from it especially as regards things like stress so pop quiz mindfulness uh true or false mindfulness makes you passive you think false interesting interesting yeah uh it's a way to really engage with your experience which promotes action and skillful action at that it's the same as meditation it's mindful it's the same thing as meditation no any perspectives on that what's that what's the difference or how do we understand this mine is more active lifeless is more active yeah there's different aspects of it yeah that extend beyond meditation and that can happen informally when you're not just sitting in meditation mindfulness can happen is you eat as you walk as you interact as you send e mails right and so that's a really important aspect of it but there is mindfulness meditation which is the formal practice of mindfulness that's about focusing your attention and really in differe...
nt ways which will do today um happens mostly during a retreat of some sort let's mindfulness mostly happen during retreat on a mountain top you know actually skillfully applied mindfulness happens more often in your daily life in the the regular stream of your life is a fad that will be discredited right there's so much attention now to mindfulness is that going to be a fad? Is it just going to go away at some point we think we'll think about that. If so, they'll just call it something different don't call it something different, right? Right, right. Well, it's interesting, because I think that the science is increasingly convincing. I mean, the amount of really rigorous studies that have been done is now suggesting that mindfulness is just a core human skill that could be beneficial in so many different these and so in many ways, we could say, mindfulness can change our lives like this answer to this question. So what is it I'd like to try to offer a simple definition here? The very simple definition is its present moment awareness. Now, that sounds really simple, but it's not simplistic because think about it. Where is your attention? A lot of the time. It's in the future, right? And what what typically is it doing in the future? They're blending planning, forecasting, yeah, imagining possible possibilities. And then where else can our attention be a types in the past, right? We're like, analyzing kind of deconstructing, remembering what happened and there's real value in that actually right, like our civilizations have been built on forecasting on having vision. It's wonderful it's a really wonderful capacity we have as human beings, but what we don't exercise as much is the capacity just be in this exact moment in our bodies with our thoughts with our feelings were not paying attention to them a lot of the time the root of the word mindfulness one of the most ancient waste the describe it has comes from the sanskrit word satti, which means to remember or to keep in mind. And so what? What do we keep in mind then when we're remembering we keep in mind our thoughts, our emotions, our body and our perceptions, so to build on that definition an operational definition I'd like to suggest is that we pay attention to our thoughts, our emotions and our perceptions how were constructing the world are narratives, right? Even some of the things we we sense, um things like hot and cold on dh there's a critical element to this in a non judgmental, non reactive way. So in a lot of ways, mindfulness is about observing our experience in the present moment ok, so let's, try this on day one of the most basic ways to do this is through basic breathing with mindfulness, and like I said earlier, I want to offer some really simple, really practical tools to do this on, so this is the very first one and this is a one minute exercise and all I'm going to ask you to do is breathe into the count of six and I'll be counting eso you could follow along and then exhale to the count of six all right so sitting away where you feel alert and relaxed and comfortable and let's begin this mindfulness breathing exercise so again let me actually time it because I really what do want to make sure this is one minute to keep with the promise of making really practical easy to use tools so start the timer and if you could just start breathe in to account of six to three four five six and then out to account of six to three four five six again in one two three four five six out one two three four five six in two three four five six and then out two three four five six in two three four five six and out two three four five and six and that's our one minute mindfulness breathing exercise you know I'm curious how was that for you one minute of breeding in that way of counting yeah I did notice right after when I open my eyes my mind was much quieter you noticed it was much quiet yeah yeah right thank you yeah that's that's definitely being able to observe our mental activity all we're doing is breathing and all of a sudden do perspective so thank you. Yeah. Yeah I was going agree to just help me kind of shut my brain up which is uh often a problem lines uh nice cool cool yeah good yeah jennifer and I wasn't breathing before like you weren't breathing before all of it is breathing but wasn't fully breathing and breathing out that that took a great amount of effort to breathe in for that long and to breathe out for that one yeah yeah it's great. So what I love about what you all shared was that you talk about a physical aspect which is becoming aware of your own breathing and you sort of how your kind of your body is functioning but also becoming aware of the mental aspect of it which is you know, my brains normally really busy fatima you too you know, saying that you know and this just kind of quiet it down and so there's an aspect of this that is about come uh at both the mental and the physical level which is great chris kaman and chat room from daisy chain who says that when she was doing the exercise it was dizzying but nice is that common for people to get a little dizzy when they do something like that yeah yeah it's reorienting your attention and so thank you for that for that question you know and at times you know we're so used to kind of moving around with our minds so much that when we just kind of pivot that attention to a single thing at times it can feel sort of like the velocity that we experience in our brain the flow of ideas and thoughts can just be overwhelming and so sometimes there is a bit of that disease sensation what I would say and suggest this keep practicing the more you do this, the more you're able to immediately find kind of that grounding as you do the exercise yeah, it seems like sandra clark says I realize that I often forget to breathe and joseph said I had to really think about timing my breath, so I mean, a lot of people I don't really consider this until they take the time to do an exercise yeah, thank you so much for the for its founder and joseph for those comments and this is one of the reasons I want to share with you because we just did that for one minute, right? And we have these like amazing kind of realizations about how we're kind of making our way through the world so I would encourage you to try to adopt this. People always ask how much mindfulness do I need? You know? And the answer is as much as is useful for you, but if you're busy and so is the not to add too much more to your plate, this could be a really portable really simple thing to do again. What we did was we counted to account of six in breaths and then counted six two out breaths, and we did it for one minute to break it down. Even more concrete. Lee, you'll get about five or six cycles in. I think we did. About five cycles could been six, sort of lost count, but it's, usually around five or six that you get to when you do the in count for six and the out count, you can do about five, six cycles in one minute. So that's how you'll know.