Mindfulness find your inner peace

As a counselor and a life coach, it is unfortunate that I wasn’t provided any formal education to prepare me to use mindfulness. But, after becoming personally aware of mindfulness and how it led me to find my inner peace, I made it my mission to teach people how to find your inner peace.

Historically, the arrival of mindfulness to the US is attributed to Jon Kabat-Zinn. Kabat-Zinn is Professor of Medicine Emeritus and creator of the Stress Reduction Clinic and the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. Kabat-Zinn was first introduced to the philosophy of Buddhism while he was a student at MIT. Later, in 1979, he founded the Stress Reduction Clinic at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, where he adapted Buddhist teachings on mindfulness and developed the Stress Reduction and Relaxation Program. He later renamed the program “Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction” (MBSR), removing the Buddhist framework and eventually downplayed any connection between mindfulness and Buddhism, instead putting MBSR in a scientific context. To this day Kabat-Zinn downplays the connection of mindfulness to Buddhism, yet I feel his downplaying of Buddhism is a means of bringing mindfulness into the mainstream; which is occurring.

In 2013 Kabat-Zinn describes mindfulness as “a means of paying attention in a particular way; on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally.”

How does the study of mindfulness translate into a daily practice to find your inner peace? A bit over 5 years ago I made a significant job change which “forced” me, as a type A person, to slow down. At the time I wasn't yet consciously aware that I was beginning to live mindfully. As I slowed myself internally and externally, I focused my thoughts and attention to the present moment. No longer was I dwelling on my past nor anxious about my future. This was quite the change for me as I used to be the king of anxiety and worry!

It was during this time I'm my life when I discovered Jon Kabat-Zinn's definition of mindfulness I mentioned above: “a means of paying attention in a particular way; on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally.” Personally, the two key phrases in this definition are important to me are “on purpose” and “nonjudgmentally”. To find your inner-peace we need to consciously make the choice to spend time every day focusing our attention on what is happening around and within us. Our focus is not meant to judge what is happening, just to notice it, to experience it.  As we become aware of our surroundings and inner self, we become aware of life’s joys, sorrows, difficulties, potential, and hope. In this state of focused awareness we are enabled to discover solutions.

The goal of mindfulness is for us to slow down enough to fully experience life. Mindfulness is not a means to avoid negative aspects of life, but to fully live those experiences so as to learn how to cope with them in a healthy way. Many of us try to avoid negativity at all costs, only to discover that we may be successful at avoidance for a time, but eventually we are hit once again with that which we were trying to avoid. Mindfulness asks us to be aware of all of our emotions, to feel everything, even the negativity. In so doing, we end up coping with all that life gives us, the positives and the negatives. Realizing that we can cope with life, without needing to avoid life, teaches us necessary skills for dealing with future events we will encounter.

Living mindfully is a daily practice of noticing the little things. For example, one eats mindfully by doing so intentionally, savoring each bite rather than rushing through a meal without truly tasting or appreciating the event. During your commute, or rushing from one task to another, we can mindfully (intentionally) notice the details of the flora, buildings, people, cracks in the sidewalk, etc. instead of missing those aspects of our lives.

How can mindfulness lead you to finding your inner peace? The short answer: mindfulness guides us to live in the moment, for it is only in the moment where we have “control” in our lives. By control, I mean our ability to change our thoughts and perceptions. If I allow my thoughts to remain in either the past or the future, I suffer from stress and anxiety since I have no control over those time periods. All that I can do with the past is learn it's lessons; in the future, all I can do is prepare, yet, in the present moment I am capable of making changes to my thoughts and feelings as I feel them. Therefore, keeping my thoughts focused on the present moment allows me to feel and experience life to its fullest, while choosing the thoughts I wish to think.

Mindfulness has not only been effective for centuries, it is now proven through scientific research as a means of guiding us to finding your inner peace. I'm not just a counselor teaching mindfulness; I'm also a practitioner of mindfulness who, in the moment, has found my inner peace.

If you're ready to explore life coaching, I would be honored to help. You can read more here about my life coaching practice or call me directly at 301-850-2177. 

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