Mindfulness as a Technique and as an Art
Mindfulness can be seen as both a technique and an art. The technique of mindfulness is really about harnessing the power of the breath. Many of us are aware of the connection between breath and mindfulness which is really important. With a little investigation we will realise that there is a crucial relationship between the breath and the mind. Calm even breaths reflect a calm mind whereas shallow fast breaths tend to reflect an agitated mind (unless of course we are engaged in strenuous exercise). The art of mindfulness is really about opening up to the beauty of life both within and around us. When we live our life as if it were a race, we miss so much of the beauty of the natural environment. Neuroscientists tell us that in order to really see something we have to spend at least 15 seconds taking it in. Letting ourselves connect to the natural world is deeply soothing to our nervous system.
Try this simple mindfulness exercise:
- Choose a simple object from within your immediate environment; it can be a flower, an insect, the moon or even a cloud.
- Let go of any other current task or preoccupation and allow yourself to relax into watching your chosen object for as long as your concentration allows.
- Bring a freshness of perspective to it as if you have never seen this object before.
- Let your eyes explore every aspect of its shape and colour.
- Notice what it is like to bring this quality of presence to the natural world. If you feel a sense of connection savour it for a few moments.