Today’s world is rife with problems of multifarious kinds, be it professional or personal. Stress at work and damaged relationships at personal fronts have maimed us and led to dis-eases of the body, mind and spirit – resulting in a vicious cycle in which we are helplessly trapped. How do we combat this and snap out of the distressful and self-damaging vortex?
To me the answer seems to be mindfulness. Break away from the inordinate haste that prevails over us. Where are we rushing to at a frenetic pace? The pursuit of material wealth that we are after, will that be a panacea to make our lives contented and peaceful? Lives of the rich and might show that it does not. Yes, money is needed for us to live a dignified, decent life. But that does not mean that we must worship the Mammon.
My first brush with Mindfulness was over two years back when I went on a ten-day hiatus of Vipassana Meditation. Till this day, I believe that this has been the best decision I have taken in personal and spiritual growth. After that, practicing Vipassana, and reading scores of books and innumerable articles on Mindfulness, I believe that it has helped me be a better person than before. Every day I believe I am evolving.
Mindfulness requires one to be compassionate first – not only to others but also and most importantly to oneself. Let go of the regrets of the past and dreams for the future. Live in the present authentically and the future will take care of itself. And the best fallout is living a life free of stress. Thus it rejuvenates and revives the body, mind and spirit making us vibrantly ‘alive’ human beings.
Sharing a very meaningful infographic about how to counter work place stress to go with this post. I hope using any of these techniques, one of which is cultivating mindfulness, you will be able to be a handle some of the issues you may have.
May you be happy…
May you be peaceful…
May you be free from anger…
May you be free from ill will…
May you be free from animosity…
Anichcha… Anichcha… Anichcha…
This infographic was produced by Unum. Unum helps employers manage stress at work.“>
One of the most nurturing of renewal mechanisms that the human body can indulge in is Mindfulness, according to Richard Boyatzis and Melvin Smith¹. As someone who is very keen on renewing myself on a day to day basis, I find great joy when I do things mindfully. Mind you, I have not mastered it. Just aware. So trials are on to make it a part of me. For example, a walk barefoot on the green grass in the park is something I mindfully did today! Yes, in the hustle and bustle of life it is always not possible to be mindful – and that is when the mind is in autopilot. Sometimes you do things so mechanically that you don’t even realize you have done it. Doesn’t that happen to you?
I have read about mindfulness through the books of Thích Nhất Hạnh (fondly called as (Thây), the Vietnamese Zen Buddhist monk and the Dalai Lama. Called in Pali and Sanskrit as smṛti / स्मृति, Mindfulness has its roots in Hinduism and later its offshoot, Buddhism. Perfected by Buddhists, it means focus, attention or awareness – a way of engaging with life and experiencing the present moment. Yet another author whose books have extolled the virtues of being mindful, The Power of Now, is Eckhart Tolle*. “Neurons that fire together, wire together”, said the Canadian Psychologist Donald Hebb. This came to be known as Hebbs axiom and going by this, the more we practice mindfulness, the more we develop neuro-pathways in the brain associated with being mindful. This makes it easier for the mind to be fully in the present moment. In today’s stress ridden existence, living in the moment makes one’s inner being resilient and activates the Parasympathetic Nervous System (PSNS), according to the studies conducted by Richard Boyatzis and team. PSNS activates a set of hormones that lower blood pressure and strengthen the immune system according to Annie McKee, Frances Johnston and Richard Massimillian.²
While mindfulness is a perfect tool to manage stress, it also helps us to create a world where we experience depth, meaning and an authentic connectedness with everything one does and how we do them.
How can we create mindfulness within us? Use our senses to the hilt. Be aware of what we see. Listen to what we hear. Sniff and experience the smell – follow our nose! What is the texture that we feel? Savour the taste – be it of the elixir of life, water, or of a grape in our mouth. Experience all these. Focus on our breath. Close our eyes. Just delve within. Watch our thoughts and let them go. Be mindful of whatever we do – bathe, brush, walk, talk or even while attending a telephone call.
Wish you a mindful journey ahead! I will also trudge along and yes, we will reach there!!
¹ In Positive Renewal
² In Mindfulness, Hope and Compassion: A Leader’s Roadmap to Renewal
* Power of Now has a series of exercises that can take one through to experience the potent power of the Now.