What is Mindfulness?
- Definition: Moment-to-moment awareness, on purpose without judgment.
- Describe being mindful. Example: Allows listening intently to lectures, with focus and to recall what was said. One thing at a time and that done well.
- Being in the present moment. Not thinking of the past or dreaming of the future. Being Here and Now.
- Explain that we all have mindfulness within us. But to experience the benefit we need to practice mindfulness, consistently
- Mindfulness can be practiced by anyone, anywhere, any place at any time.
- As students it’s easier to commence the practice. Because young minds have less responsibilities, distractions and less clutter. Relatively.
- The benefits are numerous & have been scientifically proven. Give examples of how mindfulness is practiced in many overseas universities, schools, organizations, parliaments etc.
Benefits of practicing mindfulness on campus
- Better focus at academic matters and other areas of work
- Improved examination performance, clarity when answering exam papers, and excels in viva voce exams
- Creativity and communication skills enhanced
- Reduces anxiety and stress
- Better coping skills, tolerance and emotional resilience
- Improves ability to forge relationships, and maintain harmony with peers and staff
- Prepares the student for the bigger challenges after leaving university
- Peace of mind, calmness & contentment
- Choose a suitable and quiet environment
- Sit in a comfortable posture. On cushions on the floor OR on a straight-backed chair OR on a stool/bench
- Explain how to maintain posture – sit relaxed upright, well balanced, not tensed, eyes lightly closed, placing right palm on left.
- For a few moments, in quietness just be aware of the silence within. Listen to the inner silence.
- Gently bring your attention to the body posture. Be aware that you are sitting down. Not standing, walking or lying down. ‘Here I am Now’
- Note the touch points, such as the buttocks on the ground/chair, the elbows touching the sides, palms touching one another
- Make a mental note that you are in the present moment. Not thinking of the past or the future
- Just be with the present moment, silently, without judgment or analysis. Applying Choiceless Awareness
- After a while you may notice the breath. The in-breath and the out-breath. You may notice the breath at the nostrils. Or as a movement of the abdomen.
- If so, just keep noting the breath as it happens – in and out. You may like to count the breaths i.e. 1-10. And then again 1-10.And repeat.
- If you don’t feel the breath, that’s okay, and in that case just try to keep the attention on the body posture, on how you are seated.
- During this process the mind will start wandering. That’s the nature of the mind. Its job is to wander! Every time that happens, just make a mental note that the mind has wandered, and gently bring it back, either to the breath OR to the posture. This may happen many times! Please don’t worry because this happens to everyone.
- Try book-keeping, and note where the mind wanders to, each time. Is there a pattern? What’s the most frequent distraction? Just note that.
- Various thoughts will come and go. Sounds and pains will be present. Just note and don’t get involved with them. Watch them as they come and go.
Be completely relaxed.
This is quality time you are spending with your self
After about 10-15 minutes when you hear the bell, gently open your eyes. Mindfully note that you are opening your eyes. Mindfully adjust the posture.
- When changing from the sitting posture to standing (or vice versa), continue being mindful and ‘carry the mindfulness’ with you. Note how the posture changes at the junctions in the limbs.
- Slowly, mindfully and silently.
- Simply know that you are standing and not sitting. Spend a few moments in the standing posture.
- It’s preferred that you walk bare foot, on a sandy/gravel path about 25-30 feet long. Choose a place with minimal disturbance. Walking on grass maybe an option.
- When you walk to the path assigned for walking, simply know that you are walking.
- Stand at one end on the path and be totally aware of the standing posture for a few moments. ‘I am standing’.
- Keep the eyes open and focus the gaze about four feet ahead of you.
- Begin walking at a relaxed and natural pace with full awareness that you are walking. You may place your arms at the back or clasped in front of you or by the side. So long as you will not swing the arms to and fro.
- Keep the gaze in front and avoid glancing around.
- Keep your awareness on the lower body – legs, knees, feet, and the soles of the feet. Walk at a natural pace.
- Note how the soles touch the ground, the sensations you experience
- When you reach the end of the path and the turning point, turn around with full awareness.
- You will hear sounds and see things around you. Just note them only, and bring the awareness back to the feet and walking.
- Continue walking mindfully till you hear the bell
Walking mindfully 10-15 minutes
During the Discussion:
- Invite questions/comments connected to mindfulness & the exercises done
- Recap the benefits of practicing mindfulness
- Give some examples of applying mindfulness in day to day activities
- Reference a few links and websites on how practicing mindfulness has benefitted undergraduates, globally.