The power of mindfulness, awareness, and simple being.
As we saw in the information about our nervous system, conscious breathing, relaxing, body-awareness, and also positive emotions activate our parasympathetic nervous system (PNS). We can consciously choose this support whenever we need it.
An activated PNS enables a different way of experiencing and inspires us to go deeper within relaxation.
Mindfulness: To be in relationship to what you are going through, to hold it, and, in some sense, to befriend it—that is where the healing or transformative power of the practice of mindfulness lies. When we can actually be where we are, not trying to find another state of mind, we discover deep internal resources we can make use of. Coming to terms with things as they are is my definition of healing. (Jon Kabat-Zinn)
We can do nearly everything in a mindful way, with a mind that notices what is and what we are doing right in that particular moment. If we do so, we are right there, we experience the moment as it is. With time, being mindful creates the habit of living in this way more often. The more we practice this, the easier it will be. Mindfulness can become an option in our daily life.
Awareness: Awareness is always there, but it doesn’t do you much good until you bring consciousness to it, even for brief moments. You can allow yourself to have a time when you just dwell in that inner resource of the “only-ness” of awareness, that awareness is only aware. Within awareness, things tend to find their equilibrium again. (Adyashanti)
Within our awareness everything can come and go. We can use our ability to be aware in a more ordinary, maybe half- or unconscious way in order to do what we have to do. We can use it to cook a meal or drive a car, for example. Also we can be aware of something in particular or we can be aware of this moment, this situation as it is. And finally, we can just be, just rest as awareness.
Just being: In a time and world where doing is so important and so often required, it can be a relief to just be. Often we are longing for such times, but not really seeing them as a real option for us. Just being may feel luxurious and not within reach.
Terms like awareness and mindfulness, presence and meditation are in some way just terms. So what does it feel like and how can we learn to find our own way to what’s meant by these terms?
I feel like just being allows us to do that, to go our own route in our own experience. There is no goal and no right or wrong. It can be just stopping for a moment, breathing and noticing, and then life goes on.
The next lessons will focus on different routes to simple being, different forms of meditation.