Practising natural #mindfulness through swimming

imageOne of the things I’m researching is what I call natural mindfulness. One of the things mindfulness is is natural states of mind, that can also be traits, something we inhabit in our ordinary, everyday life.

In these mindful states of mind we are responsive rather than reactive; open rather than closed in our thinking; able to hold and consider a number of options; and witnesses of our afflictive thoughts rather than victims.

One of the best ways to cultivate natural mindfulness is to learn to inhabit our bodies again: one of the benefits of this is because the body is always in the present moment- a key aspect of being mindful.

Whilst I have been in Spain, first, on retreat at El Palmeral Retreat House and then on holiday I have been practising with mindful swimming.

As we swim we can come to our senses, feeling, sun, wind and water on our skin; noticing our breathing, seeing the patterns of light and bubbles in the pool, experiencing our hearing differently as our head is in the water, scenting the smell of the water and what the breeze brings to our senses.

We can feel our muscles at work in our legs and arms, the impact on our breathing of the repeated lengths. We are swimming not on auto pilot, or merely to do a certain number of lengths, but to find a mindful state of mind.

As we swim we can exercise our muscle of attention. Focusing on our senses and the body, streams of awareness within us; as we do that with one part of our aware mind we notice when another part of our mind wanders, what it wanders too, before bringing it back to our focus of attention.

I noticed that I could feel and let go of emotions like the bubbles trailing behind me. As swallows swooped down in free flight to drink, it was a symbol of drinking from the pool of awareness.

Swimming in the pool of awareness enables us to navigate our day and experience it in all its fullness.

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