How to be Here Now. A guide to Mindfulness.

The little things? The little moments? They aren’t little. -Jon Kabat-Zinn

Last year, my friend and I participated in a mindfulness retreat with nuns and monks from Thich Nhat Hanh’s Plum Village Monastery. I was in the middle of a move that same weekend, so the idea of finding stillness in the midst of chaos was appealing to me. Then, earlier this summer I enrolled in a mindfulness training with Jack Kornfield and Tara Brach while planning my Croatia trip. So, you may notice a pattern emerging? Busy mind seeking peace.

To make a long story short, the weekend retreat was extraordinary, and I’m currently re-taking the mindfulness training with Jack & Tara…so that I can be here now, now (again). Here’s a few nuggets for you on mindfulness. Also, click here for free meditations with Tara Brach.

Let me begin by defining mindfulness: “Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally.” -Jon Kabat-Zinn. Whether you are new to mindfulness or an experienced meditator, there’s so much to discover in each moment. And, because it can be challenging to be present in our lives, I’ll provide 4 of the frames of mindfulness adapted from Full Catastrophe Living by Jon Kabat-Zinn.

  • Be Here Now. When you get swept away in thoughts about the past or the future, simply notice and gently bring the attention back to the present moment, using the breath as an anchor. I focus on my breath when the mind drifts.

  • Non-judging. Practice paying attention to thoughts and the judgments the mind tends to make. Instead of stopping or resisting the thoughts, become curious, patient and just notice. The mind is quite the label maker, no?

  • Acceptance. Accepting that things are the way they are in each moment, doesn’t mean they won’t change or can’t be changed. Here’s a simple formula to keep in your pocket: Pain x Resistance= Suffering. Pain=Pain

  • Non-striving. The sense of wanting something different, or reaching a goal can be an obstacle to truly experiencing mindfulness. It’s not about being somewhere else, or different. Rather, it’s being with and accepting what’s here now.

What I’m discovering in my practice of mindfulness is simple, yet profound; it’s not an outcome of something I’m doing, rather- it’s how I’m being…It’s allowing Life to be both the teacher and the practice. Somewhere I saw a descriptive acronym “ART of being present”: how to be mindful in everyday Activities, Routines and Triggers. Bottom line, my friends? To be here now, start with awareness. Now, I’d love to hear from you! How do you find stillness in chaos?

To Wholeness…Cheers!