Mindfulness: How to Gain a Sense of Freedom by Living in the Present
Debbie Lyn Toomey, RN, Author, Mindfulness Educator
“By being totally immersed in the present moment we allow both the past and the future to stay where they are supposed to be.” DLT
Last week, I saw an old colleague and after catching up he excitedly told me about an audio book he just finished listening to called, Why Buddhism is True by Robert Wright. Knowing that I’m a mindfulness educator and researcher he eagerly shared with me what he learned.
Our conversation led to what we know about mindfulness and how practicing awareness in the moment can bring about a sense of freedom from our anxieties, fears, and worries. Freedom that brings enlightenment by simply being in the moment without distractions from our filters. Filters are the way we view life. They are created from our culture, family, and society.
In the Present
Both of us agreed that mindfulness is the practice of being in the present and that this awareness is more than consciously acknowledging the moment. Fundamentally, it’s allowing our senses to fully awaken to what is going on and observing what is happening without attaching any thought, feelings, or emotions to it.
Two definitions of mindfulness embrace the mindfulness philosophies that my colleague and I were describing. The first is Jon Kabat-Zinn’s, definition of mindfulness as, “paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present, nonjudgmentally.” The second, on the other hand, is Ellen Langer’s definition, “actively noticing new things.” Ellen Langer is considered the mother of mindfulness.
Interested in how can you gain a sense of freedom from living in the present? Here’s how.
- Open: Be open to the mindfulness practice.
- Time: Set aside some time. Even 5 minutes can help transform anyone from being a sceptic to a believer.
- Begin: Start the practice by purposely paying attention nonjudgmentally.
- Observe: Be a spectator of your mind and notice what comes up.
- Notice: How did you feel not having to spend any extra energy on the past or the future? How did it feel to just be in the moment? How did you feel afterwards?
Trust that the more you practice mindfulness the more you can feel the freedom from feelings and emotions that we have about the past and the future.
Think of mindfulness as another muscle that you can exercise and strengthen that will give you more health and vitality.
Try this practice for the next 2 weeks and journal your experience.
If you need 1:1 coaching in how to begin and sustain your mindfulness practice contact me at [email protected] today.
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