In Creating the Life You Want it is important to find the right balance between your mental, emotional and physical areas. By balancing these areas you will be aligning all the different elements of your life so that no one area is out of balance.
How do you best align and balance these areas that are by their very nature mostly out of balance and demanding your attention in some way? The answer is to focus on your spiritual nature by using either Mindful Movement or Mindful Stillness techniques.
Mindful Movement or Mindful Stillness techniques enable the physical, emotional and mental areas to come together to co-operate and be in alignment. Each of us knows those times when things just seem to flow and we are in some sort of ‘zone’ when whatever we are doing just seems to work. At those times we have brought together all of the levels into one and we are moving congruently through life.
The journey to move from unconsciously being in the ‘zone’ to being able to consciously be in the ‘zone’ is one that each of us does in different ways in our lives. For some this level of awareness in their life can come quite easily and for others it can be something that can take years to master. We can all, in some way and at some level, increase our level of awareness each and every day through practicing Mindful Movement and Mindful Stillness techniques and train ourselves to be more and more consciously in that zone.
Most days we are moving through life very unaware of the movements we are making or what is going on in our bodies, minds or emotions, as we are doing them. Remember the shower you had this morning or the breakfast you ate? What were you thinking or feeling as you ate it? How was your body as you were washing it in the shower? Did you notice any tightness in your neck? I am sure if you walked out of the shower and into a massage the masseuse would mention your tight neck- so how did you not notice it?
The pace of life is so fast now that we are very often on to thinking about the next thing before we have finished doing the thing that is in front of us. This is especially true when we are doing the things that are more habitual or routine like showering and eating breakfast. This chronic being out of touch with what we are doing in the here and now, i.e. being present, is what is causing the most dis-ease in society today.
Technological advances so that we are connected to some form of device throughout the day on PC’s, Mac’s, phones, and tablets etc. also means that our attention is more outward focused than ever before. And when interacting with these devices the messages that we are receiving through them – buy this to make you happy, join this to fit in, do this to be rich etc., – create an endless stream of messages telling us that we are not enough and not happy just as we are.
Yet if you were to ask yourself sitting here reading these words “Am I happy in this moment?” what would your response be? Many people would say no, but if you look a bit closer and ask yourself more questions like: am I seated comfortably? Am I wearing clothes? Do I have a roof over my head? Did I have enough to eat today? Is no one holding a gun to me? If you answered yes to these questions so that you are safe, comfortable and full, then you are already wealthier than two thirds of the world’s population. So what are you really unhappy about in this moment? Many people would say that in this moment they are unhappy but would not know why and once you begin to look deeper into this moment it becomes clearer that in this moment right now there is nothing to be unhappy about.
Unhappiness has instead become a habitual response as a part of the dis-ease from not being present in the moment to your physical, emotional and mental areas.
Mindful Movement is where you bring your focus and attention to the movement that you are making, in that moment, and by doing so bring your physical, emotional and mental areas into alignment. This also moves your consciousness into awareness of what you are doing in that moment. The movement does not always need to be something big. It can be something as simple and small as eating an apple.
Elite athletes and martial arts masters are great examples of people that have mastered Mindful Movement. They have trained for many years in the techniques needed to become very mindful in their movements and in the moment that they are performing, are able to bring a high level of awareness to all areas to ensure that they are all aligned.
Usain Bolt, the fastest man on the planet, wouldn’t walk up to his starting position put his feet in the starting blocks position his body ready to run and in that moment be thinking of what he was going to have for dinner that night. No, in that moment he is very focused on his breathing, calming his nerves and emotions and bringing his thoughts into focus. He is going through the race he is about to run. He has trained to bring all these areas into line so that they are congruous with the fact that he is about to start running a race. So that as soon as he hears the starting pistol he is ready in every area to run.
So why is it that when we turn up to do something we are so far out of alignment and not present with our movements? The answer is simple. We do not bring our conscious focus onto our movements and if I was to ask you when was the last time you focused on your body What would the answer be?
Be honest now – when was the last time that you chose to focus on what was going on in your body? For most people it has been quite a while. Unlike the Usain Bolts of the world, most of us look at our bodies and pass so many judgements about them being too big, small, tall, short, fat, thin, etc.…. that we have forgotten what a gift our body is to us.
I have been lucky to have been in choirs a few times in my life and was reminded the last time I joined one about how far out of my body awareness I had moved. The simplest act of standing and breathing deeply into my body and letting air come out in sound was like a miracle for me. I had given up sports due to injury a few years beforehand and hadn’t found anything that could replace it until I stood there tuning deeply into my body and making sound. Then I remembered that when I am consciously aware of singing, when I am freeing myself up in the moment to be conscious of it, that I am aligning my physical, emotional and mental selves.
This is a sample of a chapter taken from the book Creating Your Life: Mindfulness and Meditation. The chapter is written by Michele Gennoe . Click here to pick up your copy.