The term “mindfulness” is thrown around a lot. To some, mindfulness is a way of life, to others it is an undefinable goal. Have you wondered, “How does one measure mindfulness? How do you get there?” Through Body Mapping I am learning to include mindfulness in my life and in my music-making.
I have learned that mindfulness is fully experiencing the present moment. This fluid state allows one to experience the rich braid of sensory experiences, sights, sounds, tactile, movement, smells and in some cases tastes. Being “in the moment,” offers choices in how to respond, how to move, what to do. For me, Body Mapping’s “Inclusive Awareness” has helped me to cultivate a “mindful” way of being.
Here are three ways to encourage mindfulness in your life.
- See Panoramic! – allow your visual field to be wide, panoramic. Notice that when you look at a visual focus, at the same time you can see peripherally. Notice the ceiling, floor, walls. This part of your visual field will not be in focus, but they can live in your visual awareness as you read, cook, talk with a friend, in virtually any activity. Including the peripheral field calms mind and body. Experiment with the difference between seeing panoramic and seeing narrow focus, blocking out the periphery. Notice the changes in your facial muscles, especially those around your eyes when you narrow your vision.
- Breathe! – How do you notice your breath? or maybe you don’t know how to notice your breath? There are many ways, one of my favorites is to feel the motion of all 24 ribs “up and out” on the inhale, and “down and in” on the exhale. You can notice this continuous movement as you do anything. I find it particularly helpful to tune in when I am learning a new skill. The learning process is often a time when the “try hard” mindset comes into play, which results in holding the breath. Holding the breath limits movement and coordination, requiring you to use more effort to learn, which makes learning more difficult.
Connect to the ground! – Cultivating a good connection with the ground is the physical foundation for all that you do. What is a good connection? Do this, release your feet to the ground, allowing both, the left and right foot to contact the ground equally. Next notice if the front and back of each foot is equally connected, if they aren’t equalize. Notice these connections as you play, work and move through the day. Equalize the foots’ contact over and over and over. You might even find you enjoy this connection and enjoy everything you do just a little bit more.
Each of these avenues offers a way to cultivate mindfulness, providing a direct connection into your physical condition., and allowing you to release excess tension. As these avenues become familiar to you, combine two or all of them to continue to enhance your mindfulness.