I was fortunate to attend a 2 day Mindfulness workshop in India recently at an International Meditation and Multiversity Complex. For 2 days we were constantly reminded to be aware of where we are, what we are thinking, how we feel and what choices we have in any given moment. “This Moment”, the focus of the workshop, is full of energy, potential, personal power, choice, space and freedom. As soon as we move our focus into the future (worries, uncertainty, planning, dreaming, to do lists, what’s for lunch, etc.) or into the past (should have, could have, trips down memory lane, self-criticism, resentment, shame, regret, etc.) we lose the power and possibility of the present moment (to breathe, to reflect, to feel, to recharge, to choose and to connect with our intuition, inspiration and creativity.

Focus is something in rare supply in today’s world with the bombardment of overwhelming and often conflicting demands, responsibilities, emails, news, social media updates, meetings, reports, etc. We are continuously being pulled away and distracted from this present moment and lose the ability to focus and make clear, insightful, intelligent choices and decisions, moment to moment.

When we train our minds to get better at this, and build a mindful practice into our daily habits – the benefits are huge. Through numerous scientifically validated studies in the field of neuroscience, mindful practice has shown improved capacity to regulate emotions and reduce negative mind-sets; improved quality of thinking and decision making; enhanced empathy, intuition, morality and self-insight; reduced negative mood, depression, fatigue, confusion and heart rate; and ultimately improved quality of life and sense of well-being.

Start with a simple awareness exercise. Placing the fingertips of your two hands together (thumbs to thumbs, forefingers to forefingers etc.) and focus for 3 minutes on the sensation of your fingers touching. Start with the 2 thumbs touching, then move to the forefingers, then the middle fingers, then the ring fingers and finally the pinky fingers. Spend about 20secs on each finger set. While focused on this activity, watch with curiosity and non-judgement, what your mind does. What it thinks about, where it goes, how fast it moves, what does it feel, etc. You will quickly get a sense of how easy or difficult it is to focus and be truly mindful of how our minds (focus, choices, automatic responses etc.) shape our life.
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