People often ask me why Mindfulness is so important to Mental Health Awareness. Some people are confused by Mindfulness and think it is simply a present moment non-judgmental awareness, as researchers say. But to develop the beautiful peace, gentleness, and stillness of meditation, a kindly awareness is required or, as termed by the renowned monk, Ajahn Brahm, we should develop Kindfulness!
I think rather than using the word mindfulness, perhaps kindfulness is better—it reminds you to be forgiving and friendly as you practice.
Mindfulness without kindness becomes dry, boring, and cold. Kindness without mindfulness is hard to imagine. How can you be kind if you’re not aware of what you’re being kind to? Most good meditation teachers encourage a warm, kind, and friendly awareness.
How to Apply Kindness to your Daily Practice
Kindfulness is not just for stress. You can also apply Kindfulness to your daily practice.
Begin by noticing the effect of your practice, whatever that is—meditation, yoga, mindful movement, jogging, consciously swimming backwards with one arm. Whatever your thing is, notice how you feel afterwards.
Then try these simple steps:
As you’re meditating, place your hand on your heart. The warmth of your hand encourages a compassionate feeling to whatever you’re focusing on.
Smile (please). This is mindful time for you, not self-torture. And if you can’t smile, use your two fingers to push up the corners of your mouth and hold them there for a while….I’m serious!
Pay attention to whatever your focus is, using your heart, not just your head. Feel the breath with emotion if you can, rather than noticing the sensation in a cold, non-judgmental way.
I am interested to hear how you mix mindfulness with kindness? What practices work best for you personally? Please let me know in your own time 🙂
John Earls – Director of Therapy at Satis