Stress has an underlying theme of “wanting things to be different from how they are right now.” But imagine, that just for this moment, there is no immediate pressure to change anything. Without any pressure to change things, it becomes possible to relax a little bit into what is. Thus, a kind of peace-of-mind is attained, at least for this moment. And from this place it is possible to experience more fully the richness of the moment we are having right now, as well as make space for seeing things more clearly as they are right now. This is what mindfulness practice is about.
Through the practice of body/mind awareness exercises (such as mindful breathing, the Body Scan, sitting meditation, mindful yoga) we begin to see and experience ourselves from a different frame of reference than we are used to—moving from an automatic-pilot mode of functioning to a moment-to-moment awareness with a non-judgmental observing quality. From this frame of reference—in the Now—we can actually be present in the experience of our life, as it is. And it is from this space of mindful awareness that the possibility for new choices arise. Thus, new degrees of freedom begin to emerge.
Other benefits of mindfulness practice include:
- Increased ability to relax for greater physical health and well-being
- Reductions in pain levels and enhanced ability to cope with pain that may not go away
- Increased ability to handle stressful, challenging situations for greater control and peace of mind
- Increased ability to focus and concentrate for greater productivity and creativity
- Increased energy and enthusiasm for greater joy and connection with life
These practices help us become more fouced, insightful, and relaxed participants in our lives, allowing for greater clarity, wisdom, and well-being.