Mindfulness is being aware in the present moment – possessing a level of awareness while we are in the here and now. It is about holding the present moment gently as we go through life. We are not able to be mindful all the time and this is certainly not the goal of the present moment core process. There are times when we don’t need to be mindful and there are times when being mindful can assist us in pausing for a moment and enjoying the here and now.
Mindfulness of the breath:
This exercise is about holding awareness in the present moment of your breath. There are plenty of scripts available that can guide your clients through the process of noticing your breath in the here and now. In practice, the important thing is to help clients recognise how the focus on the breath helps them become aware of when they are in the present moment, when they have ‘wandered off’, and how to return and ‘hold’ the present moment gently again.
‘Shooting an arrow’ metaphor:
A fly lands on an archer’s nose at full draw while aiming at the target. The archer is distracted from the target as his attention is drawn to the fly. It would be easy to remain focused on the fly, rather than on the target. But the mindful archer pauses for a moment, gently brings his attention back to the target even with the fly on his nose, and is able to refocus his attention on hitting the bulls eye. Mindfulness is stopping in ‘that moment’ and being aware of what is important.
This metaphor talks about targets, effort, and interruptions. Things crop up in our everyday lives and we get caught up in worrying about them – about the future or the past. Mindfulness helps ground us in the here and now by asking us to consider the present moment and what is important.
Mindfulness meditation is not a requirement when teaching this. Doing some kind of mindful exercise, to focus on attention, is useful. It may be as simple as closing a door as quietly as possible (mindfully), to avoid waking others.
Again, try this with your clients and yourself.
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