“Mindfulness is simply being aware of what is happening right now without wishing it were different; enjoying the pleasant without holding on when it changes (which it will); being with the unpleasant without fearing it will always be this way (which it won’t).”

~ James Baraz

Like emotional healing, mindfulness is an art and as such requires practice. Mindfulness means to be fully present in the here and now, to have your attention focused in the present moment rather than letting your mind wander into the past or the future. To be present also means to be open and compassionate, and to be accepting of yourself and others and of whatever is happening.

The purpose behind mindfulness is to lessen human suffering. Mindfulness has been practiced in the east for thousands of years and has made its way into the west primarily as mindfulness meditation. Since the 1970s modern psychology has embraced the concept of mindfulness. More and more people are becoming aware of this simple yet profound practice, which opens the door to emotional healing and enhanced well-being.

Practising mindfulness means consciously bringing our attention into the present moment more often. We yearn for inner peace and contentment, yet our thoughts drift regretfully into the past or anxiously into the future. Very little time is spent in the present moment. These involuntary thoughts are mostly detrimental to our well-being; they throw us off course and into suffering. Only being present offers inner peace; there is no freedom and centeredness in unintentional dwelling on the past or inadvertent worrying about the future.

There is a range of simple techniques, such as breath awareness, exercises that strengthen our ability to focus intentionally and short meditations that can be learned and that resource you so that you can practice the art of mindfulness, of being in the present moment, at will. We are actually spontaneously mindful in every day life, when we go for a walk, or concentrate on a task – you know the feeling when time seems to fly by because you are so engaged with what you are doing.

However, the ability to consistently maintain a focus in the now requires practice and inner resources. Observing our thoughts and feelings allows us to see things from a new perspective. Our relationships become richer. Our resilience to handle difficult relationships at home or at work increases.

As we become more aware of the present moment and ourselves, we embark on a new road to healing and personal growth. Strengthening your ability to focus at will gives you much greater control over your thought patterns and resultant emotional state. It will also make it possible for you to engage with your emotions rather than being overwhelmed by them or going into patterns of avoidance.

Mindfulness dramatically improves our ability to reduce and manage stress. The increased clarity and focus opens up our creativity and productivity. You will develop the inner resources to deal with problems. This will lead to more inner peace, well-being and living with more ease.