A life lived through wool
Is rarely a life lived well
Pull back the curtains and look at the world
Be in the moment
I mentioned in my last post that one of the things that does help me when I can manage it is the practise generally known as mindfulness. From some research around the web I have found that the definition I use isn’t the only one out there now, so I thought it might be useful to cover a few of the most common.
One blog that is taking the general idea behind mindfulness in a spiritual context is A Mindful Life. Mindfulness is originally a buddhist concept as I mentioned in my last post, and A Mindful Life takes the buddhist idea of a good life and blogs on it. The advice contained therein is not only useful for those trying to live a quiet, considered, purposful life but it is also a great little repository for those of us trying to make our way through the fog of depression as most of the posts are concerned with being conscious of your reality, thinking about what is going on, and things like breathing excercises which really can help gain a bit of focus. I particularly like the Make Every Day Count section.
For something a bit (OK a lot…) more serious and scholarly you could do worse than The Oxford Mindfulness Centre. As part of Oxford University’s Department of Psychiatry they are researching ways that mindfulness can directly affect and improve life for people with depression. Their answer to the question of “What is Mindfulness?” is:
Mindfulness is a translation of a word that simply means awareness. It’s direct, intuitive knowing of what you are doing while you are doing it. It’s knowing what’s going on inside your mind and body, and what’s going on in the outside world as well. Most of the time our attention is not where we intend it to be. Our attention is hijacked by our thoughts and emotions, by our concerns and desires, by our hopes or worries for the future, and our memories and regrets FROM the past. Mindful awareness is about learning to pay attention, in the present moment, and without judgement. It’s like training a muscle – training attention to be where you want it to be.
Their work centres on MBCT – Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy, which they claim can be as effective as anti depressants in some cases at preventing re-ocurrnece of serious depressive bouts. That has to be a good thing. The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) recommends MBCT as a cost effective way to reduce the likelyhood of a relapse into depression.
Going back to a lighter frame of mind, I love Zen Habits. Leo has been running the site for a number of years now and it has always been a really good read. He tries to live his life using the zen principles of mindfulness and simplicity. A great example of one of his posts on mindfulness is here. He realtes the principles to real life examples and his own routine, it really helps get a feel for what mindfulness is all about and why it helps. One particular piece of advice which tickled me but also rings very true is “take care of your tools as if they were your own eyes”.
So there are a few examples of sites that are well worth taking some time to read. Of course Google is always your friend, and a simple search on “mindfulness” brings up this list (On google.co.uk as I am in the UK) for your web browsing pleasure.
Let me know if you find any of these things useful, or if you know of any others you can recommend. Bye for now, and remember.
Wash your bowl.