Brain Eschews Mindfulness
What is she on about this time?
WHAT IS AN eschew?
Don’t worry. You won’t tested. Actually, you probably will.
If you are on this page, then I trust you have tried concentrating on the breath exercises from the last page..
The breath is our anchor. It never stops. It is always there to return to at any time day or night. When you focus on the breath, you cannot think of all those thoughts swirling around in your mind.
YOUR THOUGHTS ARE NOT YOU
Your breath IS you and feeling it go in and out of your body and it keeps you in this moment and this moment and this moment…
Feel where exactly where your breathing is most vivid.
Maybe you will sense it:
in your belly
in your nostrils
in the back of your throat
in your chest
Wherever you feel it, stay with the aspect of breathing you have chosen.
TRY TO BREATHE NATURALLY THIS WAY FOR 10 MINUTES
Now here is the tricky bit. I bet you found your mind wandering away from breathing to your ideas and stories that you have been thinking about before : lists, chores, relationships, family matters, work matters. Minds do that.
Don’t be surprised.
Don’t be discouraged.
Don’t beat yourself up.
You are just beginning to understand this core Mindfulness practice. You are like a weightlifter with scrawny arms.
How is he going to build them up? Of course – lots and lots of practice.
In actual fact, when you realize that your Mind has wandered, bringing your attention back to the breath is the real Mindfulness. No matter how many times the Mind wanders, when you realize that it has, gently return to the breath.
This is working out the ‘muscle’ that strengthens awareness.
That is why the title of this Page is ‘Brain Eschews Mindfulness’. Your mind wants to push away Mindfulness and go on rushing around as accustomed. This was necessary in pre-historic times when you had to be alert and ready to defend against other people and/or carnivorous beasts. We don’t often have to behave that way now unless we are suddenly about to be run over by a car or a fire in your building.
Our behavior lags behind evolution. Our bodies habitually react to stress in a big way when we feel pressure but in no danger of actually dying. Palms sweat, heart races, muscles tighten, sometimes there is vomiting or incontinence (the body evacuates anything that might keep it from running away its fastest).
Come on, you have felt it.
Depression and anxiety and just plain unwellness can develop when we are under threat too long for ourselves…