The essence of mindfulness practice is to cultivate a sense of connection and presence - a caring, attending attitude towards ourselves and our life’s experience as it unfolds moment to moment.
This in turn tends to transform our awareness from the narrow focus on life we can all too often adopt into something much more expansive - an understanding of our connection to the people and world around us, and our place within that delicately interwoven network of connections.
It’s easy to say or write these words - but not always easy to access a felt sense of this truth when the busyness, challenges and routine of life obscure our ability to truly connect (and attend to) what’s here, right now, in this moment (both ‘good’ and ‘bad’).
That’s why getting away from the noise of every day life can be so valuable. It offers the opportunity to pause…to allow that noise to be put to onside so that we are able to really and truly be present with ourselves and whatever arises.
It’s not always ‘nice’ but it’s so so valuable. It benefits not only ourselves but potentially everyone else with whom we come into contact.
As I type these words I’m half way through teaching a yoga retreat in Morocco - and I realise that taking time out to come away on this type of retreat is an enormous privilege and not always possible given life’s other pressures.
But we don’t necessarily have to come all the way to Marrakech. Any change of environment, or of routine, or trying new experiences has the power to help pull us away from habituated patterns by allowing us to quite literally see things with a fresh pair of eyes.
It can be as simple as taking a different route to work, brushing our teeth with our non-dominant hand - or approaching our yoga practice as if it was the first time we’ve come to our mat, taking new entries into poses, or moving our body into slightly different positions than we’re accustomed to taking.
So perhaps take time this week to try something new - or to try something familiar but with a completely fresh perspective and with a beginners mind…being interested and curious in your experience and what comes up.
You might be surprised at what you discover…and either way I hope you enjoy the exploration.