Day 7: The Inward Journey: Finding the Real Me through Mindful Exercise. If you do what your Irish Mammy says, you will always find your way home.
When the mind is fully engaged in the present, it is usually totally engrossed in what it is doing. Take the reading of an exciting book or the watching of a thriller movie, for example — all thoughts will remain with the activity and you will feel energized by it. This is referred to as focused attention or mindfulness and it is one of the most effective ways to develop and maintain a clear and uncluttered mind.
Many people waste the benefit of any exercise because they cannot rid their minds of idle chatter.
Have you gone for a walk and found that you spent the entire time talking to the person who decided to walk with you?
Note to self
There are times when I absolutely love going out for a walk and a chat, especially with ‘himself’ as we climb over the ‘mountain’ which is really only a big hill but a mountain sounds impressive nonetheless, so a mountain it is then.
Now where was I ….yes we love to walk and talk……O dear!
Can you see where this is going…yup you have it, my mind is drifting like a rudderless boat in an endless sea of conversations.
So we walk and talk which it itself is a very pleasant activity and good for marital bliss but bad for mindfulness.
Sometimes we decide just to go for a walk for the fun of it and ‘ talk the heads of each other’ other times when we are both feeling a bit exhausted we opt for the mindful way.
Happily, we now understand any activity – even the most tortuous exercise requires far less effort and struggle when practiced with focused attention and the reason for this is so obvious that we often overlook the simple truth that;
- A focused mind is still
- A still mind is relaxed
- Relaxed muscles respond more effectively to than those in a tense state.
Conscious awareness or ‘Mindfulness’ is described by the Encarta Dictionary as a ‘form of being actively attentive or deliberately keeping something in mind’
It is possible to train the mind to focus on anything, both liked and disliked activities. However, when we are unfamiliar with this discipline, the mind, like a naughty child, will go wandering when it has to attend to what it considers it to be a boring, routine task.
So here is the thing, we can trick the mind to becoming still, if we take everyday tasks and do them in a way that invites the mind to become involved . When we keep the mind busy it has no time to drift all over the place.
I like to call this Mindful Exercise.
Mindful Exercise as it is all about doing everyday undertakings extraordinary well with focused attention.
OK, so lets look at everyday undertakings.
Everywhere there are the lifts and escalators and we hop on them mindless right?
Wrong! This is a bad habit that will effect our health and well-being.
to use the stairs and as you do
- count the steps,
- focus on your feet keep your mind clear
- when your wanders bring it back. Look and your feet. Count slowly, rhythmically, one step at a time, without any effort what so ever
More Mindful Exercise
Instead of driving the car or taking the bus, decide to walk mindfully and
- Look down at your feet.
- If you are wearing shoes and socks, thank them for keeping your feet warm, comfortable and dry. Better still, if you are barefoot become aware of the earth on which you stand and thank the earth for its gravity as you walk upright upon its soil.
- Next allow your attention to focus on your legs and thank them, for transporting you and your body from place to place.
- Then, take a slow deep breath and concentrate on the movement of each foot one step at a time
- Become aware of the smells, the sights and the sounds around you without any effort whatsoever and smile.
- If you mind wanders, take a slow deep breath and bring your attention back to the movement of each foot, one step at a time, without any effort whatsoever and smile
Continue walking this way as long as time allows.
When you are ready return to the business of the day, energized and refreshed, knowing that you can return to mindful exercise any time you choose.
- For the next few days promise yourself that you will train your mind to become still through the practice of mindfulness.
- If your mind is scattered and wandering all over the place, get it involved in any activity you are doing no matter how mundane it is.
- Practice your smile and let it be a smile from your heart, without mind judgement or comment.
Note to self
OK guys, Lets promise ourselves to do these simple mindful exercise for 30 minutes every day and observe how you are feeling emotionally, physical and spiritually.
It seems too simple to be true but then again the best things in life often are!
So until our next post on Day 8 I bid you adieu. The Real You is getting close.