The Deeper, Richer Benefits & Poetic Paradox of Mindfulness That Are All Too Easy to Forget…

Are we in a bit of danger of only seeing mindfulness as a sort of convenient tonic for hectic 21st century living?
Of course, it totally is…
BUT it is also SO MUCH MORE ~ as it always has been.

Mindfulness has pretty much gone mainstream.

It reminds me of when I was younger and a little known indie or punk band or some esoteric drum & bass I discovered in small venues or illegal radio programmes would hit the big time.

I’d get the anti-climax. I’d be loving something special & powerful but little known and then BLAMO it’s everywhere, then copied, diluted, fast fashion fodder…and I’d feel a little sad and disgusted. This has also happened a bazillion times with visual artists {I can’t tell you how much I hate when a conversation about art jumps almost immediately to the market. Bleugh.}

I know that sounds a bit snobby. Over the years I have become much less so and can definitely see the value in amazing work reaching more people – and I can ignore the dilution, the weird heat around a trend that feels a bit superficial.

But I’d be lying if I said I didn’t experience this with respect to mindfulness going mainstream.

I read about it in a book in the 90’s when meditation was still a bit odd and underground (similar arc with yoga!). And I found it’s explosion a bit triggering and annoying – which is SOOOOO self absorbed, but there you have it.

I’ve noticed though that I’m defo not the only one & this is kind of “thing”. More and more people are talking about the authenticity & experience required but not always present in the teaching and the conversation is getting richer, deeper. It’s not just an “HR band aid” or another way to get ahead (although it will do wonders for that). It’s something MUCH more.

By now, it seems as thought everyone has come across the compelling benefits of mindfulness. Most have tried an App or perhaps have had some sort of experience of mindfulness at the workplace or school. Mindfulness and it’s benefits have been covered extensively in mainstream media.

It is widely known to reduce stress, improve focus and so forth, HOWEVER, I want to not only briefly re-look at the evidence based benefits, but also the gorgeous paradox at the heart of mindfulness.

The inherent poetry nested within it.

Why? Because it’s cool and beautiful – and this practice is so much more than being a bit less stressed and a bit more productive.

The capacity for a satisfying, authentic greatness is what I want for my life, why I practice mindfulness & what my clients get out of it ~ an open-minded, open-hearted wonder that leads us to so many of life’s true goodies and inspires the most amazing journeies.

Firstly, here are some key findings backed by scientific research:

The following list is from Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Finding Peace in a Frantic World, a well researched bestselling book written by Emeritus Professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of Oxford, Prof Mark Williams. 

The Benefits of Mindfulness:

~ Numerous psychological studies have shown that regular meditators are happier and more contented than average.  These are not just important results in themselves but have a huge medical significance as such positive emotions are linked to a longer and healthier life.

~ Anxiety, depression and irritability all decrease with regular sessions of meditation. 

~ Memory improves

~ Reaction times become faster

~ Mental and physical stamina increase

~ Regular meditators enjoy better and more fulfilling relationships

~ Worldwide studies have found that meditation reduces the key indicators of chronic stress including hyper tension

~ Meditation has been found to be effective in reducing the impact of serious conditionss, such as chronic pain and cancer and can even help to relieve drug and alcohol dependence

~ Studies have now shown that meditation bolsters the immune system and thus helps to fight off colds, flu and other diseases

How a practice of stillness and hanging out in the present moment brings so much power and depth to the rest of our lives is the delicious paradox. 

Still moments are like the dramatic pauses in a perfected piece of music…they make the rest of the noise so much more poignant, so much more transcendent. 

We need pause. 

Not because we need to drop out of our lives,
but because we need to drop more deeply IN.

So with mindfulness practice ~ choosing to place our awareness on the present moment whilst suspending judgement…

We can be…
happier, more contented, less anxious, less depressed.

We can improve our….
memory, reaction times, physical stamina and immunity.

We can have…
better relationships.

We can better manage….
chronic pain, chronic stress, cancer and drug & alcohol use.

Simply from choosing to be fully present in the moment and moving away from judgement.

But it begins with a choice, an intention to do so and only you can do this for yourself.  Nobody can inject you with mindfulness, you have to grow it within. 

Ignore the bossy voice that says you have too much to do with not enough time or support and invest in your happiness, your presence.  Because both you and the world will benefit from you being more fully present.

Your choices are your medicine. 
Stillness is a super power.

Begin with guidance.
Apps are great, books are great, but experienced human teachers are the most effective.

If you are ready for the benefits of mindfulness in your life, you have to practice, get the essentials in my 5 week one to one mindfulness programme.  Learn more.

Here’s to you, your choices, your intention, your stillness, your presence & your future.

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