When we take groups into Big 5 country we emphasise over and over the importance of being present, fully present. This means mind, soul and intellect completely in the present, in the space and place that we are in.
When this does not happen and we have an unexpected mind-focussing incident, as is so often the case in nature, and you are not present, then the whole team is in trouble. You have to start playing catch up because your mind was in the office, or at home, or focussed on that intractable problem you were wrestling with before you left home. Probably, almost certainly, the whole team is also in trouble because they will all be having to help you catch up! And, so the incident has real potential to escalate into something a lot worse than it needed to be.
Being mindful means being heart, soul and brain in the present and here!
We are so conditioned by our past to see things a certain way that our minds are tuned to seek out those things which support our current belief systems making them even more entrenched. This is dangerous for our own good and probably also for our mental health. It can become so bad that we self-isolate ourselves from anything that may nudge us off our current belief systems. This does not mean that your beliefs are bad, or good. It just means that they have the capacity to focus your receptors only in a certain direction, which can close your mind to new and different options, ideas, realities.
The very essence of being mindful is in fact learning to open your mind to other ideas. It is only when your mind is fully open that you can be truly fully present. It is when you are fully present that all your senses are tuned and open to receive new, different and challenging ideas. You will be able to hear, see, feel, touch, and smell the stuff and things around you that you may not have noticed before. It is when you are completely present and alive is that you are also open to experience the newness of life and fresh ideas. It is the essence of active looking and listening!
We have all had the experience of driving down the road with our minds elsewhere ( in a dwaal in Afrikaans) such that when you arrive at your destination, you cannot remember one item of anything along the road. It all just passed in a blur. This is the opposite of being mindful.
When you are fully, joyfully mindful you notice the small things, the little details and you take joy from the experience. At the heart of it, living mindfully means revelling in the magic of life and all its mystical, mostly unfathomable, majesty!
Little kids live in the present. They live fully mindfully and every moment for them is a moment of discovery. It is truly a pity as we mature that we lose this propensity for adventure in the small things around us. There is so much to learn and benefit from, if only we could open all our senses to the magic that exists in almost every aspect of life. But we must be present and we must look at the small things in a big way to be able to do that.
On our cycle tour, partially because we are wrapped in a little cocoon of just the group of cyclists and support team, we become more aware of our surroundings, the beautiful bonding relationships in the group, the beauty of the countryside and landscapes that we ride through. Mindfulness in this context makes us abundantly and consciously aware of the beauty all around us. Not just in the landscapes but in everything in the surroundings!
Newness is not necessarily in experiencing new things. Opening our senses and our minds to fully experience our surroundings and all the small things and nuances that have always been there allows us to live these same things in a new way, in a way that delivers a new experience to us. Being present, really present, in mind and soul you experience the world in all its glory, every little bit of it. Discovery takes on a whole new dimension.
To do this you need to still your mind and open your senses. You do not have to be on duty and busy all the time; you are entitled to listen, look, taste, feel, touch, hear and sense the world in a whole new way every day!
This is what mindfulness if all about!
It is always useful to have a few tips for achieving mindfulness:
- Still your mind. Make yourself comfortable close your eyes and take 3 or 4 deep belly breaths. Feel the oxygen infuse your body and slow your heartbeat
- Open your eyes and stretch your arms above your head. Feel the stretch.
- Activate all your senses by thinking about what you see, feel, hear, touch, taste and sense.
- Absorb your surroundings through your senses
- Have quick scan around you and pick out one thing with each one of your senses
- Keep breathing deep, slow breaths
- Become totally conscious of all your surroundings with all your senses……see, hear, feel, touch, taste, sense everything like a child experiencing these for the first time. Seek out the detail.
This may seem long and convoluted. It is not. The more you practise this, the quicker it becomes until you become expertly mindful in seconds. Enjoy! It will certainly renew your experience of life.
Written by : Sirocco Strategy Management
Sirocco was established to work with organisations to guide them in their strategising, and to ensure effective the implementation of their strategies. Implementation depends 100% on the buy-in and commitment of the people in the organisation.