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Is it just me or is everyone talking about Mindfulness?

Tony Bates kicked off 2013 by announcing his wish to live mindfully this year and his plan to journal his progress weekly in the Irish Times honestly and accurately. 
Looks like he’s not the only one who wants “to see what difference it makes when I live my life consciously rather than float around half asleep or half awake.” (Jan 2nd, Irish Times, Mindfulness is my playground, it’s my way of coming home)
… because when he and John Murray (RTE Radio, 16th Jan 2013) offered a few people a chance to participate in his mindfulness course on the radio more recently, Wow! they didn’t expect to get four hundred interested participants!!

So why is everyone talking about Mindfulness now?

Both science and medicine are in full agreement that the benefits of Mindfulness Meditation are many and wide. It can transform your life and is profoundly healing. It works on the entirety of the organism from the chromosomes to the cells and the brain. It strengthens the immune system, increases resilience and emotional regulation, while improving communication and interpersonal relationships. It can alter brain function / structure and enhance intelligence, health, creativity and happiness. Masses of clinical trials have shown compelling improvements in the areas of stress reduction, pain management, depression, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorders and panic attacks. As a result, Mindfulness is now used in almost all walks of life including: hospitals, prisons, business, courtrooms, schools, colleges and more…

Is that why people are talking about Mindfulness or is there more?

I think there is a lot lot more.
The fact that so many people didn’t regret the demise of the celtic tiger, despite economic hardship was a real wake up call for Ireland. It showed us clearly that though we want outer conditions to be optimum (and historically we had never experienced this before), it did not work in our search for direction, meaning, a genuine sense of fulfilment or real happiness.  Genuine happiness does not mean pleasant feelings, one after another, each one more intense, seeking them, piling them, and then collapsing from exhaustion at the end.  It’s more like a cluster of qualities that we can develop, like openness, inner strength, inner peace, compassion, that let’s you be less fearful, more able to serve and to flourish.
These qualities / this state of mind, is what is cultivated by Mindfulness practice. Now, there appears to be a hunger for living more fully aware, more alive, wholehearted and balanced lives.
Tony Bates highlighted the real miracle of Mindfulness last Tuesday when he titled his weekly journal: A practice that takes us out of our heads and back to our hearts,” to remembering what we care most deeply about, to recognising what we have lost and need to let go of, to reconnecting with what inspires and nourishes us.”

No wonder everyone is talking about Mindfulness!!!

“Mindfulness has changed my life, can’t thank you enough! I’ve learnt that thoughts are thoughts and not facts or real. I’ve learnt that going back to breathing is so helpful. I feel like I have the foundations for a calmer, more meaningful life and its up to me now to build it into a reality. I am much more mindful especially with my children, being fully present when even just giving a night time bottle can be unbelievably rewarding.”          –  participant

This blog was written by Joanne O’Malley, Mindfulness at Work