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How to Gain an Immediate Experience of Mindfulness


How to Gain an Immediate Experience of Mindfulness


Standing up for your Mind

As a way to gain an immediate experience of living and abiding in the moment, I have started to introduce the practice of Mindful standing in the live Meditation classes that I teach.

Mindfulness practice is sometimes seen as having to focus exclusively on mind training exercises that we engage in, when we’re sitting down. Of course this is an important element, however it can be more far reaching than this.

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If we are creative we can introduce Mindfulness training to all elements of our life, so our practice starts to become holistic and integrated. One formal practice that can help us to start this process is Mindful Standing. Learning this technique gives us an appreciation that Mindfulness is much more that sitting down and closing our eyes.

If we check our everyday life, much of the time we are standing. Standing up can sometimes seem like a bit of a chore, something that we have to do when we are waiting, or there is no seat available. With this skillful, standing practice we can learn to transform the times that we stand into a Mindfulness training. No longer will we feel the need to immediately look at our mobile phone when we are waiting for a train or bus, no longer will standing and waiting be frustrating or tiring.
The importance of this practice became apparent recently, when I arrived at Manchester train station and stood up from my seat awaiting to leave the train.  There was a delay of around three minutes with the opening of the door. I couldn’t go back to my seat and I couldn’t move forward. I just had to stand there.  It dawned on me that now is the time to practice Mindful standing. Rather than thinking about what I need to be doing in the future or getting frustrated with the situation, just simply take the opportunity to abide in the present moment.
So how did I practice Mindful Standing and how can we practice?

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Follow these tips to get started:

  • Stand up in a posture with both legs parallel to your shoulders and your feet pointing straight in front of you.
  • Bend your legs very slightly.
  • Feel the sensation of your feet against the floor.
  • Experience the sensation of being rooted like a tree in the floor.
  • Allow your back to straighten and your shoulders to relax.
  • Put your right hand in your left and place them on your navel (if you have something in one of your hands then simply place one hand on your navel.)
  • Spend a few moments, checking in with your body and noticing any sensations.
  • Draw your attention fully into your body.
  • Enjoy the experience and joy of being a human being, abiding in a human body.
  • Notice the movement of your hands – they arise and dissolve in time with your breath.
  • Follow this experience for a short time.
  • Allow your breath to bring you into the present moment.
  • For as long as you feel comfortable abide with this experience.

For me after doing this practice for a few minutes in Manchester while I was waiting for the train door to open, I was left with a feeling of presence, renewed energy and focus. With my mind and body having a recharge in this way, the shape of the rest of my day was altered and improved.

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If I am guiding this practice formally then I will usually have the entire session lasting five minutes. However with creative thinking this practice can be shortened to three seconds. Use it, if you have a few moments to wait in a queue. It’s like we’re taking a quick check-in to the present moment.

One brief Mindful standing practice could alter the course of our day, week, month, year, or even life.  Those moments when we get really frustrated or angry with someone, which can affect a relationship, position at work, someone’s faith of confidence in us, can be pacified with a few moments of Mindfulness.

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So rather than the times in our life when we are waiting, just being dead time that we fill with nervous energy, they become Mindful moments that bring peace, calm and focus into our world.
Also standing has a very beneficial effect on our physical health, in today’s world where much of the time we are sitting, companies and business are now encouraging their staff to stand, sometimes when working. With an growing increase in desks available that allow us to stand in the office.

So next time we hop on a bus, tram or train, let’s think twice before jumping for that seat or being distracted by our mobile phone, stand up for our mind and try a Mindfulness practice!

Featured photo credit: Ed Gregory via stokpic.com

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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