7 books to cultivate mindfulness
Short introduction of mindfulness: A time for self healing and personal growth.
As the world is set on pause, many of us are being forced to slow down. Right now, this might feel frustrating, unfair and even stressful. And it is. You might be in a wonderful place, or stuck in a tiny apartment. Maybe you can go outside, maybe you can’t leave your house. All depending on where you’re from.
One way to look forward is to accept the present. What is here and now. Once we have done that, we can move on. Most of us have more time now than ever before, time to actually be bored, to practice something new, gain more knowledge, take care of each other, take care of ourselves, love deeper, practice mindfulness.
Today I want you to focus on mindfulness, as so many of us have forgotten.
Mindfulness means maintaining moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment, through a gentle, nurturing lens. When we practice mindfulness, our thoughts tune into what we’re sensing in the present moment rather than rehashing the past or imagining the future.
But where did we forget practicing mindfulness? How did so many of us lose that gift we had as children? Back then we did nothing else. To see the world through children’s eyes is the most wonderful thing. But today’s society leads us away from that sensation. So often in our lives we’re looking outwards, rushing to get somewhere or reach some goal. We focus on the outside world, when really, we should do the opposite. In our daily lives our minds are constantly busy with all the information and impressions surrounding us. Our mind is not used to quiet moments, it is trained to stimulate us constantly. We desperately try to avoid it. I am as guilty as you. Or maybe I can learn from you.
What we need to remember is that sometimes it’s necessary to quieten the mind in order to be able to hear. How can we tune into what is going on outside of ourselves if it’s drowned out by what is going on inside of ourselves? By finding your stillness, by finding your calm, you start listening.
One way to practice mindfulness is to start with the breath. When we sit and follow our breathing, aware of our inhalations and exhalations, we cultivate the energy of mindfulness. Try and practice this for 5-10 minutes everyday and see if you feel any different, physically and emotionally. When you practice sitting with awareness, our solid peaceful steps cultivate the energy of mindfulness and bring us back to the present moment.
However, we can cultivate the energy of mindfulness in whatever we are doing – when we are working, or cleaning up. Just a few days practicing like this (or remembering) can increase our energy of mindfulness, and that energy will help us, protect us and give us courage to go back to ourselves, to see and embrace what is there in our environment. No matter how small the space may be.
You are important, so don’t forget to take care of yourself. It’s ok to be selfish in order to heal. Let’s use this time to remember mindfulness, like we so often practiced as children. The world has given us this opportunity, it’s in our hands to use the extra time we have been given wisely in order to grow and become better version of ourselves.
There are many books written to cultivate mindfulness. Here are a few you can look into if you want to learn more:
1. Mindfulness and Surfing - Reflection for Saltwater Souls by Sam Bleakley
Mindfulness and Surfing casts a fresh perspective on this popular sport, and explores how riding the waves can be the ultimate meditation. Engaging author Sam Bleakley takes us on a soulful journey across the tideline of his personal and philosophical travels. Through lunar cycles and river surfing to the Taoism of nature, he reveals an acute awareness of what the oceans can tell us about our place in the natural world. Meditating on one of nature’s greatest elements – its salty swells, flow and peaks – he shares life lessons in mindfulness that will be relished by surfer and non-surfer alike.
2. The Power of Now by Eckart Tolle
The message Tolle delivers is that of living “in the now” – a concept many adept mindfulness practitioners understand, but one that beginners don’t quite comprehend. Tolle’s enthusiasm and clear, compassionate voice is what makes this book stand out and change the lives of those who read it.
3. 10%. Happier by Dan Harris
Dan is the perfect example of just your regular, non-spiritual guy who discovers that meditation doesn’t have to greatly alter your life – sometimes, it just makes your current one much happier. This would be a great book for anyone interested in meditation, but skeptical of the real-world benefits.
4. The Headspace Guide to Meditation and Mindfulness: How Mindfulness Can Change Your Life in Ten Minutes a Day by Andy Puddicombe
Headspace’s founder, Andy Puddicombe, is a former Buddhist monk with many years of experience teaching the practice. Andy began his meditative journey much like the rest of us – a regular, busy guy with everyday problems and stress. He does a marvelous job of introducing the topic of mindfulness with stories from his own life and helping people understand just how powerful 10 minutes per day can be.
Also check out his app: Headspace
The Headspace app has without a doubt changed the lives of many people around the world. You can go through its beginner 10-day mindfulness challenge as a friendly reminder of the principles, and for the fact that just 10 minutes of meditating can make a world of difference.
5. Mindful thoughts for Surfers – tuning into the tides by Sam Bleakley
Mindful Thoughts for Surfers explores how meditative a life on the surfboard can be. Sam explores how riding the waves is the ultimate meditation and offers an astute awareness of what the oceans tell us about our place in the natural world—if we would just listen. His illuminating meditations, each beautifully illustrated, make this book perfect for dipping into and offer a gentle gateway into life-affirmingawareness for everyone.
6. The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz
The Four Agreements isn’t a traditional book about mindfulness. Instead of ramming the practice of meditation down your throat, Don Miguel Ruiz very gently provides a guide to living life and staying mindful.
Miguel Ruiz brilliantly introduces ancient Toltec wisdom into our modern world. The Four Agreements he discusses are: be impeccable with your word, don’t take anything personally, don’t make assumptions, and always do your best.
7. Wherever You Go, There You by Are by Jon Kabat-Zinn
In this book, Jon Kabat-Zinn provides chapter-by-chapter glimpses into the many different facets of mindfulness. It’s a practice about letting go, being non-judgmental, kind, and embracing the present moment.
In a way that can’t be explained, this book will help you become more comfortable in your own skin.
Enjoy your reading!
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