To see a world in a grain of sand
and heaven in a wild flower
to hold infinity in the palm of your hand
and eternity in an hour…
This stanza from William Blakes eternal poem “Auguries of Innocence” for me hold the essence of the practice of Mindfulness one of the most important practices you can use for true health and well-being of body, mind and soul.
Let me explain:
To see a world in a grain of sand – implies that you have stood in stillness long enough to truly see that in everything no matter how small and seemingly unimportant is important. You have taken the time to lose yourself in the seeing and suddenly new worlds have opened up for you, you are seeing everything as if for the first time and can easily see the truth of it all. That in one tiny grain of sand there is an entire world waiting to be discovered, in that person over there are depths and yearnings and a potential for true magnificence if they could only allow themselves to be vulnerable and fearless.
and heaven in a wild flower – one step further in our quest for mindfulness to not only see but to feel the wonder in the smallest of thing and feel it in every moment. Often in our fast paced life the one thing we do not make time for is innocence, awe and wonder and it is now time to remember that curiosity, wonder and awe is the state we were born in, from which all creativity is born and are an essential part of being in state of thankful, loving kindness which in turn is scientificall proven to enhance your life and health.
to hold infinity in the palm of your hand – for me this means to see the infinite possibilities in every moment of your life. Once you understand the foundations of our quantum universe you also understand that there are no absolutes, no hard lines, no edges to fall off the whole universe is a eternal flow of energy one way and then the other in waves of potential, possibility and probability. Decisions are never fixed in stone, choosing becomes a matter of allowing your fearless heart to lead you where there is the most flow for you. Life then suddenly becomes so magical again, so miraculous where all things are possible.
and eternity in an hour – have you ever lost yourself in thought? It’s time to lose yourself in no thought, LOL. Gift yourself with moments of nothing where you sit, play and focus on just being here now, in this moment with no thoughts of the past or the future after all the past is… well past and your future isn’t written yet and therefore subject to change without notice. All you really have is this here and this now, bless it, inJOY it suck it dry of every tiny particle it offers to you. Each and every moment, each hour you live and breathe is here and now and filled with juicy goodness – delight in it, without judgement and see how your whole life changes and improves.
An exercise in mindfulness:
I could teach you so many meditations on mindfulness and these are so important as a daily practice but I am going to give you a lesson in mindfulness today rather than a meditation.
Grab a child under about 3 or 4 years of age even the tiny ones have so much to teach us about mindfulness. Have you ever held a 6 month old up to a tree branch and watched as they stroked the leaves, touched the trunk and seen the wonder in their eyes as they did?
So grab a small child, kidnap one if necessary and get down to their level on the grass or sand at the beach and watch them, then be them in that moment, see the world through their eyes, touch the leaves, the grass and the rocks or sand and truly be in that moment, feel it, smell it, truly see it without thought.
Blow bubbles and see the bubble in a sense of wonder and awe at it’s perfection, watch the delight of the child in each bubble and mimic their play and joy.
Now take this learning into your life and see more of the world around you in every moment, seek out what is magical, miraculous and special about every scene you find yourself in. See the full moon rising, see the tiny bud about to open, see the tiny flowers sprinkled amongst the grass, truly see, feel and hear your world.
Mindfulness is about waking up, connecting with ourselves, and appreciating the fullness of each moment of life. Kabat-Zinn calls it, “The art of conscious living.” It is a profound way to enhance psychological and emotional resilience, and increase life satisfaction.
Definitions of Mindfulness
The key to mindfulness is an appreciation for the present moment and the cultivation of an intimate relationship with it through a continual attending to it with care and discernment. It is the direct opposite of taking life for granted. The habit of ignoring our present moments in favour of others yet to come leads directly to a pervasive lack of awareness of the web of life in which we are embedded. This includes a lack of awareness and understanding of our own mind and how it influences our perceptions and our actions. By investigating inwardly our own nature as beings and, particularly, the nature of our own minds through careful and systematic self-observation, we may be able to live lives of greater satisfaction, harmony and wisdom (Kabat-Zinn, 1994).
“Bringing one’s complete attention to the present experience on a moment-to-moment basis.” (Marlatt & Kristeller)
“Paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally” (Kabat-Zinn).
“Seeing the magic in every moment, feeling the miraculous is just around the next corner waiting for you to discover it, finding the joyousness all around you and being in your now-ness as the innocent, vulnerable child of the universe open to receiving the bounty our abundant universe has gifted us with is true mindfulness.” (Annie Infinite)
The Benefits of Mindfulness
Practicing mindfulness helps you:
- to be fully present, here and now
- to experience unpleasant thoughts and feelings safely
- to become aware of what you’re avoiding
- to become more connected to yourself, to others and to the world around you
- to increase self-awareness
- to become less disturbed by and less reactive to unpleasant experiences
- to learn the distinction between you and your thoughts
- to have more direct contact with the world, rather than living through your thoughts
- to learn that everything changes; that thoughts and feelings come and go like the weather
- to have more balance, less emotional volatility
- to experience more calm and peacefulness
- to develop self-acceptance and self-compassion
Mindfulness and Therapy
Mindfulness training has emerged as a powerful, evidence-based tool for enhancing psychological health. It has been clinically proven in a wide range of clinical disorders, including chronic pain, anxiety disorders, depression, PTSD, OCD, substance abuse, and borderline personality disorder.
Mindfulness is now being taught in University’s around the world and I believe needs to be taught in primary schools too to help develop resilience in children.