Be aware of what? I hear you say. Well ‘be aware’ and ‘notice’ are two things I say very frequently when I am leading a mindfulness meditation. Because really that is the core of mindfulness. Being aware of what is going on in you and around you right now….in this moment. How often do you really notice birds singing? The wind rustling in the trees? The sound of rain the window? The sounds of water lapping in a lake or on the sea shore. If you get the Calm app….and I do recommend it…these are some of the sounds they use. And its pretty obvious WHY noticing lovely sounds like that is encouraged.
But during qigong I encourage people to be aware of their bodies and breath…to be aware of any signals their body is sending them. ..usually accompanied by a reminder that if anything is causing discomfort don’t do it….adjust what you do. Well that makes sense….if you are doing something that is causing pain stopping doing it is a good idea.
But what if you have chronic constant pain? How can being aware of that help? Surely the best thing is to block that out? Sadly no. Another important part of mindfulness is acceptance of how things are. However much you might want things to be different, they are what they are. Railing against the pain can make it worse. A lot of pain is caused by anticipation of when the next pain will come..you are braced against it…when actually relaxing will help. Also however bad the pain is, you only have to deal with it ‘in this moment’ And very often being aware of pain can show you its not all one constant block of sensation. There are also visualisation techniques that can help you manage the pain…But thats means you need to be aware of what the pain is . How bad it is.
The same kind of thing works with mental pain…but that’s for another post.
The point of mindfulness techniques is not to relax you although that is very often a side effect. The point of mindfulness techniques is to help you practice so that when you really need it they are automatic. So you automatically breathe into the pain, to explore what you are REALLY feeling.
If all that sounds like mumbo jumbo…well you probably won’t read this blog any more. But if it resonated with you feel free to contact me to find out more