Ive often heard the saying “Ignorance is bliss“….
The definition for ignorance is “lacking knowledge or awareness in general; uneducated or unsophisticated, discourteous or rude”, and the definition for bliss is “perfect happiness; great joy”. So I sit here drinking my morning coffee wondering how ignorance is bliss? How can I be in perfect happiness and experience great joy if I am ignorant to my surroundings, lacking knowledge and awareness?
I also never knew that the actual wording comes from Thomas Gray’s poem, “Ode on a Distant Prospect of Eton College” (1742): “Where ignorance is bliss, ’tis folly to be wise.”
Mindfulness? Ring any bells?… A few years back during my panic and anxiety dominated life where I didn’t really know what today or tomorrow was or if I was seriously ill or if I was going crazy and a abundance of “what ifs” if my head…. I was introduced to a form of meditation called “Mindfullness”, unlike the stereotypical image of meditation which I had in my mind at the time “where a monk has his legs folded and he is magically levitating in thin air using only his own energy and mind while in a state of internal peace”.
Mindfulness is just a little different…
During Mindfulness meditation we make ourselves conscious of the “present moment’ and focus only on what is happening here and now. We also try to divert our focus and thoughts away from what might happen or what has happened in the past. To achieve this there are various mind exercises during the meditation to aid focus, one of them is to breath consciously . I have to admit when I was first introduced to this I was quite skeptical and really found the idea of sitting down and focusing on a my present moment and my breathing a little silly. The last few months or 4 years after my first introduction to mindfulness to be precise, I have decided to consciously make a change to myself and my life. I have become more and more interested in personal development and improvement.
I spent time analysing my thinking and discovered that my mind was almost constantly thinking of what has happened or what might happened. I also recently read that our brain processes in excess of 60,000 thoughts a day. Im pretty sure those 60,000 thoughts I had been processing up until now had been about the past or future and NOT what was actually happening around me here and now at this present moment.
Here is a little exercise we can do right here and now. Just stop everything you are doing for the moment and mentally note every sound, smell, taste and feeling you can identify right now. Do it!!
Ive done the same myself just now and its surprising how many senses our brain shadows over or blocks out. When we actually focus on what is happening now there is a lot happening that we have not noticed. Our mind works similar to this in that if we are caught up in negative thinking it blocks out any positive thoughts trying to enter., just the same that if we think of the future we can stress ourselves over something that hasn’t even happened.
This is what has got me interested in Mindfulness meditation and I have started to practice it daily for just 10 minutes.
I am not trying to convince anyone to start to meditate as this is a decision that has to be made by one self but to be “mindful” we do not need to practice “meditation”. (although practicing, majorly strengthens your mindful abilities).
We walk around everyday taking in information and images from all over. There are things that stick in our minds and other things that we decide not to consciously remember. We are the only ones that have control of our own minds. We spend time during our lives to learn new skills or qualities, we spend time going to the gym to become physically stronger, we learn new recipes so we can cook something new, But why is it that training our mind is something that is very rarely spoken about.?
For anyone interested in mindfulness meditation check out Headspace
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