6 Key Takeaways From Wherever You Go There You Are

Wherever You Go, There You Are a time tested classic first published in 1994, is a gentle introduction to mindfulness. Jon Kabat-Zinn celebrates simplicity, as a guiding principle to a meaningful life, to be cultivated daily. He explains what mindfulness is, the benefits of meditation and how anyone can start savouring the present moment today.

My key Takeaways from “Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life":

Takeaway #1 How To Fully Enjoy The Moment

How many times have you found your mind wandering to other things whilst being in the middle of a really enjoyable moment such as enjoying a romantic meal on a lavish vacation when you suddenly think about a project waiting for you at work. Mindfulness is what it takes to stay in the present moment but this is something that requires constant practise.

Takeaway #2 What Is Mindfulness?

Being mindful means you appreciate the present moment and live your life consciously. It means you put a stop to living on autopilot, stopping those thoughts from racing through your head every second of the day, and just be. With those thoughts on pause and moments of slowness you can observe who you are and your view of the world resulting in a feeling of empowerment.

Takeaway #3 Developing Mindfulness

By incorporating a few practises into your daily routine you can experience mindfulness.

1. Stop Doing, Start Being – Sit or lay down and think of yourself as being timeless. Observe the now without trying to change anything. Notice what you see, feel, hear, touch, and smell. Embrace and accept this moment fully. If your mind strays, focus on the sensation of your breath.

2. Concentrate – Commit to fully experiencing one thing or one moment at a time. When you do this the other thoughts and the outer world will fall away.

3. Voluntary Simplicity – Engage in one activity or one thought at a time. This means deliberately ignoring some things to keep in the moment. For example, if you're talking to your partner about a plan and the phone rings, let it ring whilst you carry on your discussion.

4. Practice Patience - Anger and annoyance are pointless negative emotions and should be replaced with patience, generosity, and compassion instead. When you have successfully mastered this you'll have mastered a key component of mindfulness so stay in the moment when anger raises its head.

Takeaway #4 Formal or Informal Mindfulness

Mindfulness can be practised formally or informally through meditation, this giving you the time to pay attention to your body, the moment, and experience a heart-centered presence. Formal mindfulness means you have scheduled time for meditation each day. Meanwhile, informal meditation can be done walking or standing, the aim not to walk to a destination so walking in circles around your garden would suffice.

Takeaway #5 Question Yourself

Being mindful isn't something that happens as soon as you've decided you want it, you have to check in with yourself, asking yourself questions throughout the day to stay connected and present. When you get upset, pause and ask yourself 'what is upsetting me?'. You can also ask yourself 'what is my purpose right now?' and 'what is my purpose in life?' You can also practise mindfulness in your day by concentrating on your body – Notice how your body moves as you walk up a flight of stairs at work.

Takeaway #6 Overcoming Difficulties

Your ego and your thoughts are the biggest obstacles to overcome when practising mindfulness. Be wary of congratulating yourself when you have a great meditation session as your ego could be lulling you into a false sense of achievement - meditation does not have an end destination so consider what your ego thinks the end goal is. Selfing is another common problem which means making every thought and moment about yourself. You don't want to get rid of selfing, just balance it by remembering that every moment is interrelated and that there is no independent you – You are not an island, you exist in harmony with the people, places, and events around you.

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