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Mindfulness. Sunday May 3, 2015

What are you thinking about right now?

Now try this; don't think about a pink elephant. Now what are you thinking about?

Now; think about your breathing; feel the air coming in through your nose, cool and fresh. Feel it flowing out through your nose, warmer now. Don't worry about whether or not you are thinking about pink elephants dancing past, stick with your breathing. In and out. In and out.

Don't try and change your breathing, just let it come and go. Try this for a few minutes.

At this point you probably find all sorts of things come into your mind, not just pink elephants; memories, work, worries, children, pets, aches, pains...the list goes on. For now, just breathe. In and out. In and out. Focus on your breathing.

You might find that you get carried away with some of the thoughts, as soon as you do, come back to focussing on your breathing.

I like to think of my thoughts as a fast flowing river. When I notice I have been carried away by a thought, I mentally climb out of the river, shake the water off and sit down again on the bank, watching the river flow past and just breathe.

Another watery, and classic, analogy is a glass of muddy water. If you leave it alone, it will settle. It is the same with your mind. It has no off switch, but if you give it chance, it will settle.

Mindfulness helps give it chance to settle.

In their excellent book on mindfulness for health Burch & Penman put it beautifully;

You can take a breath only for this moment. Mindfulness is the acceptance of the situation in this moment.

So for just a moment today focus on your breathing and give your busy mind a chance to settle.


A Moodscope member.

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Di Murphey Sun, May 3rd 2015 @ 3:43am

Dearest Lou ~
I especially find the fast-flowing river analogy intriguing and inspiring. The thought of climbing out, shaking off, and simply watching gives me peace and an actual practical plan. Many thanks for your post.

Anonymous Sun, May 3rd 2015 @ 6:57am

Thank you very much for writing this and that I received it this morning. When i started to read your words i was worried and sad and angry a bit - and now I feel better. Thank you.

Anonymous Sun, May 3rd 2015 @ 7:05am

Brilliant Lou! Love from the room above the garage x.

Anonymous Sun, May 3rd 2015 @ 8:23am


Thanks for your kind words.

I read the blog every day and often find it inspiring and helpful so I am really glad mine has been helpful to others.


Julia Sun, May 3rd 2015 @ 9:09am

I love the muddy water in the glass analogy. That works brilliantly for me, thank you Lou.

Anonymous Sun, May 3rd 2015 @ 1:01pm

Lovely Lou, thank-you.
Another analogy, is to visualise sitting at the edge of a lake, looking into the clear water and seeing a diamond on the lake bed beneath the gently rippling water - for me this encourages stillness; thank-you for prompting this reminder.

Hopeful One Sun, May 3rd 2015 @ 1:24pm

Hi Lou-sounds simple doesn't it? In fact its really do. But it can be done and the more one it the better one gets. I like to think that my mind is like the blue sky and all the thoughts and feelings that I get as I focus on my breath are just clouds.As long as I keep my focus and not get involved with the clouds, however enticing ,they will pass by as clouds do .

The Entertrainer Sun, May 3rd 2015 @ 3:55pm

Lou, I'm breathing for you...

Hopeful One Mon, May 4th 2015 @ 6:24am

Hi Lou- I should have continued. As I carry on focusing on my breath a strange thing begins to happen . Not always but quite often. I start seeing what is called the ' third sign' ( the in breath being one and the outbreath being two) . For me this is an intense Bunsen blue spot or a ring on which the concentration and clarity of my mind focus. Others report star like features or seeds. Some people call it the ' third eye' . What ever it is the sign is yours . At that stage you are in 'sati' according to Hindu tradition or ' nirvana ' in the Buddist tradition I believe. It is thought that the best spiritual insights occur at this stage. But even if that does not happen for one one will still come out of mindfulness refreshed and alert. In the neurobiological word the explanation is that we experience the fiction of the emotive , artistic , caring right right cerebral hemisphere rather than the linear thinking, analytical , chattering left hemisphere the source of much mental dysfunction .

Hopeful One Mon, May 4th 2015 @ 6:26am

Read ' function ' not fiction in the third line from below!

DawnC.Ritchie Mon, May 4th 2015 @ 9:40am

Brilliant post, thank you :D

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