The Windmills Of Your Mind. Or, Mindfulness By Another Name!
‘The Windmills of your mind’ was not only the standout song from the Steve McQueen/Faye Dunaway film ‘The Thomas Crown Affair’ in 1968, it was also a massive worldwide hit in 1969.
As partial as I am to windmills though, what I’m really interested in talking about in this piece is the influence that circles and patterns have on our lives and the way we live them.
Judy Collins sang, “All my life’s a circle, from sunrise to sundown”? And didn’t Willie Nelson also write a song about, ‘Circles & Cycles’, that featured on his 1974 Album, ‘Phases & Stages’?
Then there’s Frank Sinatra’s 1968 Album ‘Circles’, where he covered ‘hip and happening’ tracks of the day to reach out to a younger audience. These included, ‘By the time I get to Phoenix’, ‘Little Green Apples’ & ‘Gentle on My Mind’, as well as another Judy Collins song, ‘Both Sides Now’.
OK! Thanks for indulging me with this wee musical peregrination down memory lane, but what’s all this got to do with anything?
The concept of “Self-healing” can be traced back to Aristotle, but the actual term ‘Self Help’ dates back to 1859, when the Scottish reformer Samuel Smiles penned a best-seller of it’s day simply called, “Self Help”: And his argument was this — changing individual behaviour could be more effective than changing the law. It played well!
To change though we need to understand.
Writing my book, ‘Uncovering Mindfulness: In Search of a Life More Meaningful’ helped me to understand things a little better, because I was able to pull together a lot of life experience, thinking, reading and a whole host of other stuff and try as Aristotle also suggested, “To make meaning”. That is to make sense of things, and how often do we really get the chance, or indeed even take the time, to do this as we go from one thing to another without pause, hardly conscious of our surroundings, or breathing, with our “Nervous hands and worried minds”.
Whether our lives are linear in their unfolding or made up of Cycles, can of course be a matter of retrospective interpretation. How we choose to see things and what language we use to frame experiences.
However, Patterns can most definitely be found in all aspects of our lives and very little that happens is, in fact, entirely random and without root in something that has already happened.
There is a constant tension playing out within each of us everyday of our lives, between individual and relational qualities and these have become know as the Driver, Visionary, Organiser and Collaborator.
In the past 40 years Neuroscience has revealed that the qualities we call the ‘Mind’ are not confined to the Brain. They are in fact intimately entwined with every system of the body.
Moreover, the conscious mind or what we might be call ‘Thought’ arises later than ‘Emotion’, which comes from the oldest part of our Brain — The Reptilian or Lizard Brain as its’ known.
Mindfulness cultivates self-awareness and from this we can become more skillful at using our energy — mental, emotional and physical — in ways which increase our inner resources rather than depleting them. Paying Attention to our present moment experience directs and focuses our energy in the here and now.
Where Attention goes, energy flows and as Albert Einstein famously said, “Everything is energy”!
And paradoxically, by accepting the World as it is, brings with it a renewed courage and confidence to face what can only ever be an unknown and uncertain future.
The regular practice of Mindfulness brings with it not only awareness, a new clarity of thought, fresh eyes and a free mind, it also boosts resilience, tolerance and empathy, compassion and if we care to look for it, personal wisdom.
Mighty claims perhaps, but what have you got to loose just spending five minutes a day practicing Mindfulness.
So how can you start?
In Chapter Six of my book there are a number of mindful exercises, clearly explained and simple to do, that you can begin to incorporate into your daily life starting today. There will also be future pieces by me on Thrive Global that will specifically look at how to live and incorporate Mindfulness into all areas of your life.
Meanwhile, you can also follow the continuing journey Uncovering Mindfulness on Twitter @TheMindfulBook and you can get the book where I go into a lot more detail on Amazon or at www.bookboon.com where it is currently one of the Editor’s Picks for 2017.
There’s also a linked series of Podcasts available on iTunes, titled ‘From Mindfulness With Love’.
Don’t put off taking that first step today — You won’t look back, promise!
Tener en cuenta
Paul Mudd is the author of ‘Uncovering Mindfulness: In Search Of A Life More Meaningful’ available on Amazon and www.bookboon.com; the ‘Coffee & A Cup of Mindfulness’ and the ‘Mindful Hacks For Mindful Living & Mindful Working’ series. He is also a Contributing Author to The Huffington Post and a Contributing Writer to Thrive Global. Through The Mudd Partnership he works with business leaders, organisations and individuals in support of change, leadership excellence, business growth, organistional and individual wellbeing and well doing, and introducing Mindfulness. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org and you can follow the continuing journey uncovering Mindfulness on Twitter @TheMindfulBook and at @Paul_Mudd