Newcomers to mindfulness may be surprised to learn that being mindful isn’t about achieving some state of mental emptiness. Rather, mindfulness is about being aware of what is going on at the given moment and examining it in a non-judgmental way. In doing so, we unhinge ourselves from our automatic reactions—reactions which are not always in our best interests, or for those around us.
Stress reduction is often an effect of mindfulness practice, but the ultimate goal isn’t meant to be stress reduction. The goal of mindfulness is to wake up to the inner workings of our mental, emotional, and physical processes.
The truth is, our brains operate like a 24-infomercial. Incessant and often mindless chatter. If we don’t have anything to worry about at the moment, no worries, the brain immediately dredges up issues real and imagined thereby filling all available space.
We do ourselves a favour to recognize that this brain chatter is a constant state that we are not going to change. The magic elixir lies in developing our ability to observe rather than react to these disparate notions from the past or worries about the future. It helps to be kind to yourself, to have a bit of a laugh at your own expense as you note whichever thought has come to mind. They are your thoughts, they are what they are. Just be aware of them and then let them go. Gently, gently! It is called mindfulness practice for a reason.
Sometimes I create mindful art with the concept at the outset, as in the case here. As always, I wanted to create a piece that stands alone as a beautiful piece of art that will be a showcase piece in any setting. At the same time, I wanted the subject to be the amazing sense of euphoria when we develop our ability to observe rather than react to our mindless brain chatter. The feeling of euphoria includes the satisfaction in recognizing the unnecessary negative engagement we’ve sidestepped, the unnecessary worry that was avoided and so on and so on.
I like the life and energy I’ve created here. The blues represent the brain chatter—the 24-hour infomercial. I used a variety of blues as a reminder that very few things in life are straightforward and there are usually many sides to any given story. The ivory is a calm space and represents the practice of observing rather than reacting to the churn. The hints of blush underpainting represent the fact that we are beings not mind-machines and serves as a reminder that our brain is only one component of ourselves.
I’ve left the painting unsigned on the front to allow it to be hung in any orientation.
If you’d like to read some good introductory posts about mindfulness I’ve provided some links in my post Curious About Mindfulness?
If you’d like some tips on using mindfulness practices to help with holiday stresses you can read my Survival Guide.
Some tips on Mindfulness and Mediation for the busy person.
You can find this painting and more of my artwork that celebrated mindfulness for sale here.
One of the topics I’ll be writing about soon is developing your mindfulness practice into acquiring the trait of mindfulness which is an important element of developing resistance. I invite you to join the community so that you make sure to receive new posts. You can sign up here.
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Until the next time,
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Hi! I’m Bev and I live in Niagara on the Lake, Ontario.
I write about how to live a happier life by learning how to reduce your stress and reclaim a sense of calm.
I’ve been a film maker and and diplomat. I’m married, have wonderful children and I love to paint.
My degree in Communications, certification as a training manager and (soon-to-be) certified Mindfulness Coach underpin my writing efforts so that I can write to you in a clear and insightful manner. I like to think of it as a guerilla-style approach.
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