Recognising the Unsettled Mind
In Week 1 beginner’s Mindfulness class, I outline what Mindfulness is and how this is of benefit in daily lives. The first thing to acknowledge is that our minds wander all the time. This is the same for all of us. The mind has a strong habit of moving away from the present and into distraction. We set the intention to do one thing and the mind does the other. This shows us that we are not in control of our activity within the mind.
The unsettled mind is like a butterfly. It won’t stay in one place for long and insists on flitting from one thing to another continuously. At the beginning of learning to do Mindfulness Meditation, it is important to understand that thoughts arise by themselves. We don’t decide to have thoughts. When we are doing a Mindfulness Meditation, we are not trying to make our minds go blank. We will be learning to recognise when we become involved with a thought and become lost in thinking.
The first step is to recognise the unsettled mind. This is feedback from a participant in the group after the ‘Recognising the Unsettled Mind’ Exercise.
Recognising The Unsettled Mind: Feedback from a group participant in the Mindfulness class(MBLC).
Taking part in this first Mindfulness exercise was relaxing and gave me a few minutes of tranquility. The sound of the bell really made me become aware of the thoughts in my mind. It also allowed me to focus my attention on my physical body and the small movements I was making all the way from my blinking eyes to my wiggling toes. My mind often tends to wander. This Mindfulness exercise gave me the opportunity to become more conscious of my fidgeting. It also allowed me space to be more open with myself about the thoughts of worry and stress behind these small but constant insecurities. The sound of the bell was very therapeutic. It was able to snap me out of my wandering thoughts and also bringing my mind back to focusing on embracing the present moment.
Settling the Mind
I guide the Mindfulness class in how to settle their minds by resting their attention on an alternative point of focus. Their focus in the Meditation is on regulating their breathing and counting their In and Out Breath. Our minds are like a muscle, we can deliberately with effort, learn how to settle our minds by using our breath.
Even though they focus their attention on the Breathing and counting, thoughts will arise in their minds, that are okay and normal. When they realised they got caught up with a thought, they started to notice that they were no longer in the present moment. This Mindfulness meditation also helps the group observe when they got lost in fretting about something that could happen or dwelling on something that has already happened.
So throughout our lives, we have created the habit to get involved with our thoughts as soon as they appear in our minds. We associate thoughts with thinking and due to habit, we get caught up in thoughts without realising it.
This is feedback from a participant in the group after the ‘Settling the Mind’ Meditation.
Settling the Mind Meditation: Feedback from a group participant.
When participating in this Mindfulness meditation, I found that at first, I was little reluctant towards embracing a peaceful state. My brain would not stop wandering off into unnecessary thoughts. However, once I had settled into the meditation, I started to feel more peaceful and at ease. Geraldine was able to take me on a Mindfulness journey that allowed me to connect more consciously with my breathing. This led me to become aware of my thinking and then allowed me to bring myself back to the present moment. I can see how Mindfulness will benefit me by becoming aware of when I wander off into thinking especially into future worries. When the class ended, I experienced myself feeling less stressed and more positive.
Mindfulness Meditation audios
At the end of each Meditation class, I e:mail out notes and audios that have been recorded by me. Participants can still access the Meditation recordings even after the 8-week course has ended. Here is an extract of ‘Settling the Mind’ meditation. I have included other audios in the 8-week Mindfulness blog posts so you can listen to the tone of my voice. Read Week 2 Mindfulness course