Though thou shouldest be going to live three thousand years and as many times ten thousand years, still remember that no man loses any other life than this which he now lives, nor lives any other than this which he now loses. The longest and shortest are thus brought to the same. For the present is the same to all, though that which perish is not the same; and so that which is lost appears to be a mere moment. For a man cannot lose either the past or the future: for what a man has not, how can any one take this from him? These two things then thou must bear in mind; the one, that all things from eternity are of like forms and come round in a circle, and that it makes no difference whether a man shall see the same things during a hundred years, or two hundred, or an infinite time; and the second, that the longest liver and he who will die soonest lose just the same. For the present is the only thing of which a man can be deprived, if it is true that this is the only thing which he has, and that a man cannot lose a thing if he has it not. Marcus Aurelius Meditations 2.14
Mindfulness has been termed so many definitions all depending on the definers’ belief or thoughts. One thing is sure when it comes to stating the meaning that is “awareness.” Most researchers defined the term mindfulness as the essential human ability to be fully present and aware of where we are and what we are doing, not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what might be going on around us.
With the practice of Stoicism, Mindfulness occurs naturally, but it presents itself even more readily to us when we practice it daily. Whenever you bring awareness to what you are directly experiencing or going through your senses, or you may come to your state of mind through your thoughts and emotions then it will be regarded as you been mindful. There’s a currently growing research showing that when you can train your brain to be aware. This act means that you are remodeling the physical structure of your brain.
Mindfulness is readily available to us in every moment, whether through meditations and body scans or can be through mindful moment practices such as taking time to pause and breathe whenever the phone rings instead of the rush to answer it.
BASICS OF MINDFUL PRACTICES
Stoic mindfulness acts as the space between ourselves and our reactions, breaking down our already programmed responses. Listed below are ways through which one can tune into mindfulness throughout the day:
Set aside some time: this single act doesn’t require that own or have a meditation cushion or bench or any other sort of specialized equipment for you to access your mindfulness skills but, rather all you need do just set aside some time and space.
Observe the present moment as it is: the initial aim of mindfulness is not quieting the mind or trying to achieve a state of eternal calm. The main objective is merely aiming to pay attention to the present moment without judgment.
Let your judgments roll by: whenever we notice that perceptions arise during our practice, we can simply take a mental note of them and let them pass by.
Return to observing the present moment as it is: often times our minds get carried away in thought that may arise in our head. This makes mindfulness the practice of returning again and again to the present moment anytime we have drifted away.
IMPORTANCE OF MINDFULNESS
Stoic mindfulness practices usually result in improved concentration, stress reduction, effective communication, and overall health improvement. Below are the various importance of mindfulness:
Improved focus: research has shown that mindfulness has a significant effect on the p0art of the brain that is responsible for self-regulation.
Emotional intelligence: mindfulness helps to boost the brain functions; once the habit is practiced regularly, it will increase your productivity levels at work. It stands as one of the building blocks for creating a creative and productive workforce.
Enhanced memory: just as stress is contagious and shuts down all the part of the brain, mindfulness does the same thing but in the right way. It impacts the brain in different ways that enhance the mind and allows people to be more precise and original.
Embrace criticism: negative feedback is one of the worst criticism one can get at either their workplace or from a friend, and research has shown that poorly delivered or received criticism can cripple productivity. But with mindfulness, you can gain control of your own emotions and respond positively by mindfully listening and taking control of your response; you can significantly control overcome any undesirable counter-response.
Mindful practices for every day
As one spends more time practicing mindfulness, you will probably find yourself feeling calm, kinder, and collectively patient. These shifts in your experience are likely to generate different positive changes in other areas of your life as well.
Mindfulness brightens you up making you appear more playful, maximize your enjoyment of a long conversation with a friend over a cup of coffee or tea, and then wind down for a relaxing night’s sleep. Try out these four practices this following week and observe for changes:
BE KIND TO YOURSELF
Often time people find it challenging to care for themselves. Receive love and believing that they also deserve to be happy. Loving-kindness meditations point us back to a place within us, where we can cultivate love and help if flourish. Developing care for oneself is the first objective and the foundation for later being able to add others in our sphere of happiness and kindness. One can express love and care for their selves through the following ways:
- You can start by taking delight in your goodness
- Silently repeating self-inspiring phrases that reflect what we wish most deeply for ourselves in an enduring way. Phrases like; “May I live in safety,” “may I have mental happiness” etc. can all be beneficial in re-assuring ourselves of a better life.
- Repeat those phrases with enough space and silence between so that they will be able to sink right through us. Direct your total attention to a sentence at a time.
- Each time you noticed your attention has wandered, be kind enough to let go of the distraction come back and repeat those phrases to yourself.
- After sometime visualize yourself in the center of a circle made up of those people who have been kind to you or have inspired you because of their love towards you. These people could have been people you have met of you might have read about them, either existing or not even mythical beings. As you visualize yourself in the center of them get to see yourself as the recipient of their love then continue to repeat the phrases to yourself again.
- You can proceed to close the visualization and keep repeating the phrases for a few more minutes.
LEARN TO WALK THIS WAY
To-day has been unbroken; no one has filched the slightest part of it from me. The whole time has been divided between rest and reading. A brief space has been given over to bodily exercise, and on this ground I can thank old age – my exercise costs very little effort; as soon as I stir, I am tired. And weariness is the aim and end of exercise, no matter how strong one is. Seneca, Moral Letters 83.3
Walking has been attributed to being one of the greatest gifts and when we manage early in life to use our legs to get around it will be noticed that the parents call their parents to report the event. The very fact that walking or whatever form of ambulation you may use to get around is so central to our lives makes it the immediate focus for mindful, meditative attention.
Below are a few simple sets of instructions for one form of walking meditation, there many variations for walking:
- Stand up straight with your back upright but never should it be stiff
- Curl the thumb of your left hand in and let your other fingers wrap freely around it
- Drop your gaze just slightly.
- Always step out with your left foot first.
- Feel the same as your right foot comes forward to meet your left foot.
- Walk at a steady but not a very slow pace but a little bit slower than in daily life.
WAYS TO WIND DOWN AND FALL ASLEEP
You may have worked throughout the whole day and may need to wind down and have a rest i.e. sleep, but the brain wants to think about both critical and mundane things like having a review of what you might have done throughout the day and tasks that you may not have completed. Your body needs every sleep it can get, below are few ways through which the body can get adequate sleep and fast too:
- Dim the lights an hour before bedtime
- Avoid looking at anything with a screen like for example your phone, tablet, laptop or even the television.
- Ten minutes before bedtime begin a focused mindfulness exercise, like sitting in a comfortable chair in the same dimly lit room and imagining the outline of your body and slowly trace it to your head.
- If your mind begins to wander note that it walks back to you.
- Lastly, get in bed and focus in your breath.
BE A GOOD LISTENER
We all know that we are in the presence of a good listener whenever we get that sweet, affirming feeling of really being heard. But this rarely is the case. We can’t force others to listen when we, speak, but we can only improve our habit of listening and perhaps by so doing, inspire others. You can learn to listen well in the following ways:
- Check inside of yourself to find out how you are generally feeling or if you are expecting something, then decide if it needs to be addressed urgently or not.
- Feel your sense of presence
- Silently take note of your reactions as they happen or arise
- Try as much as possible to reflect back what you are hearing
- When you feel the need to ask questions, use friendly and open-ended questions.
The practice of Stoic mindfulness is simply being aware of what is happening right now, employers and employees at work can take advantage of mindfulness practices and meditation rooms to relieve themselves of the daily tension that they may be experiencing while at work. They can also interact with others who share similar interests by taking classes offered onsite to realize a more mindful and productive environment.