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Mindfulness... are you paying attention?

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August 02, 2017

Become aware of the thinking, as we often become lost in thought and fail to notice what is going on around us.

When I went outside early the other day my breath was frosted and forming small clouds in front of me. The ice was prickly under my fingers on the balcony rail and slippery under my feet on the stairs.

I noticed my resistance to the cold and continued on keeping my mind quiet and my attention in the moment. My dog Yoda went patrolling the boundary fences, exploring the smells left by nocturnal creatures.

The leaves in the garden were glistening with frost and beautiful patterns of ice had formed in the water bowls left out for the dog. The sand of the labyrinth crunched beneath my feet as I enjoyed 
my morning walk.

Clustered in the trees were birds waiting for the birdseed they receive each morning, and the sounds of their calls were crisp and sharp in the frosty air. The sounds of dogs barking and traffic rumbling in the distance carried lightly on the gentle breeze as I inhaled the fragrances of the bush as the sun started bringing it to life.

Early morning at our place has a stillness yet it vibrates with life and I always feel grateful for another day. This is the practice of mindfulness, the gentle art of being here now. It involves bringing the attention more and more fully into the moment and “just noticing”.

It’s a great practice to “check in” throughout the day by noticing the breath as it comes and goes and becoming fully aware of the sights, smells and sounds around us. Tune in also on the feelings in the body and the pressure of our feet on the ground.

Become aware of the thinking, as we often become lost in thought and fail to notice what is going on around us. This is a great antidote to the over-busy mind and allows us to develop a greater enjoyment of even the simple things in life.

Research at Harvard University has found that people spend 47 per cent of their waking hours thinking about something other than what they are doing. This mind wandering typically makes them unhappy. It appears that mind wandering is the default mode in the human mind and, as many philosophical 
and religious traditions have suggested, we need training to correct this tendency.

Regular mindfulness meditation achieves a reduced activity of the part of the brain that ruminates. Or, we can simply practise ‘being here now’ to train ourselves to participate more fully in what we are doing. The side effect of this is greater happiness.

Dr Lisa Shortridge is a registered chiropractor, holistic healing practitioner, labyrinth facilitator, long-term meditator, wife, mother and grandmother who has run a successful wellness practice in Shepparton for 30 years.

Now semiretired from chiropractic practice, Lisa teaches meditation and works to promote awareness of the labyrinth. She is inspired to empower people to live healthily, happily and consciously.

Do you practice mindfulness? Let us know what you get up to in the comment section below!

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