I’ve never been one to follow the latest trends. I’m usually a year or two behind on such matters. Having worn a beard since I could grow one, I was a bit perturbed when the bearded Hipster became the latest trend. I felt like going around with a sign on my head saying “I have had this beard since I was 5”. I didn’t though, just in case any body thought I was mad.
With this in mind, I was slightly concerned when I started to practice mindfulness that I had jumped on the band wagon. I came to mindfulness at a time when there was a furore about it, the new thing was to get mindful. It had a whiff of the sort of faddishness that I try to avoid. However I also came to mindfulness at a time when I was open and ready for something that could quite possibly change my life forever. The timing was right.
My very first introduction to mindfulness was the first interview on the Mindfulness Summit, produced by Melli O Brien of mrsmindfulness.com back in 2015. It was an interview with Mark Williams, Clinical psychologist & Co author with Danny Penman, of ‘Mindfulness: Finding Peace In A Frantic World’. It is an amazing introduction to mindfulness and I believe the reason for me, why this has become much, much more than just a fad but a way of life.
There are lots of things from that interview that stuck with me, but I remember him saying when asked what changes he thought would happen if mindfulness hit critical mass, say a billion or two billion people practicing. He talked about mindfulness being seen as a fad, a panacea, a frenetic let’s get mindfulness, this for sure will pass and the question will be what is left on the beach when the tide has gone out so to speak and will that be able to be slowly maintained.
I look back now and see that those words were spot on. I came to mindfulness in a whirl of drama, at full tide if you like. Something usually brings us to search for it, I talk about this in my blog Wake up call. Slowly with steady practice, the initial drama and furore starts to calm down, within time, the tide goes out and your left on the beach where the real work starts. Where the fad turns into a way of life.
So there we are on the beach. It takes time, there is no rush but eventually we arrive. Nowhere to go, nothing to do, nothing to be. Just life as it is. Our ego’s will search for some drama, it will tell us to make some waves, to go and find the next fad and to pretend to get busy by being lost in thought. But if we’ve practiced diligently, there will be a draw to just stay in that place of awareness, to feel the senses and to get in touch with life as it is in that very moment.
There, right there on that beach is a lovely little sweet spot of mindfulness. For me it feels like home, a oneness I never had before. We get pulled away from it, I do all the time, but that’s okay, we are only human after all, we can gently come back to it. When the tide does come back in and it will, we know that underneath those waves, underneath all that drama, there is the beach, the home, the oneness, whatever you want to call it. By doing the practice, we know it is always there underneath all the drama and furore. It will always will be a place to come back to. For me this gives me a great sense of peace and contentment.
I am so grateful to The Mindfulness Summit, in particular the words from Mark Williams. It is what made me see this as much more than a fad and why mindfulness is now a part of my everyday life.
“Let the tide go out, stand there and feel your feet on the sand, the wind in your hair, take a deep breath in, look up to the sky, look out to the horizon, feast on it and take it all in. A real life in all its glory”
Check out the interview with Mark Williams or indeed the whole mindfulness summit from 2015 by clicking the link below.