Being Fully Present

It sounds simple enough, doesn't it. Just be fully present, just be in the moment. But you'll know fine, if you have ever tried it, that it's much harder than it sounds. The clamour from your mind is incredibly loud. There are a myriad distractions from the beauty and simplicity of being in the present moment: fears about work; worries relating to relationships; background 'noise' about tiny little details and stresses relating to phone calls and emails. How are you supposed the find 'the moment' with all of this going on in your head?

Don't be disheartened. I found that, when I first started trying mindfulness meditation, the distractions arising in my mind were quite overpowering. I am still learning (and with mindfulness you always will be) but I have already started to feel brief 'flashes' of 'presentness' during my meditation. It's kind of hard to explain but is almost like waking from a dream: you try to hang on to that feeling in the way that you try to hang on to the sense of a dream as you wake from it. 'Hanging on' is perhaps the wrong terminology as I think it's not really possible to hang on to the moment but rather you just have to be in it and let it happen.

I realise that's I've just started talking about 'being in the moment' again, when what you really need are practical techniques to get nearer to this state. This journey will be your own, and some of the 'techniques' may be of your own making, but simple methods such as focusing on your breathing can really help. Again, it sounds ridiculously easy, but you will find yourself getting distracted. There are plenty of other techniques that can help and you may wish to pick up a practical guide to these. Others are content to find their own methods.

Trying to get a feel a fuller understanding of what mindfulness means, why it works and how it can be cultivated is, for some, the work of a lifetime. Think of yourself always as a student of mindfulness. You are, literally, attempting to use remodel your own brain. The 'plasticity' of your brain means that this is possible. Nobody said it was going to be easy but, equally, there are few constraints on how it may improve your mood, your ability to relax and your relationships with others.

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