Conversation 4: Mindfulness & Being Present

One Final Note

One Final Note a recording of Julian McNally (3:01 min) 

(One Final Note by RMIT Counselling and Psychological Services, Six ACT* Conversations, RMIT University is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Remember that, as with most of the exercises we’ve developed for Six ACT Conversations, these are not meant to be practised once and then abandoned.

You don’t maintain dental hygiene by brushing your teeth for a whole hour but only once a month.

Likewise, you don’t derive benefits from acceptance and commitment training by practising these exercises in a haphazard or occasional manner, but rather, by making many small investments of time and attention.

man walking dog through field of sunflowers
Photo by Delphine Beausoleil on Unsplash

I would therefore ask you to commit to practising one or more of the mindfulness exercises at least four times a week – for a minimum of six weeks.

If at the end of that time you’re certain that you’re deriving no benefit, then by all means quit or try one of the other exercises for a similar amount of time until you find one that works for you.

Remember, before you quit something worthwhile, you must first earn the right to quit. So constant practise is essential.

Anything less is “trying” – and we will see in Conversation 6 how useless trying is.

I asked at the end of the segment on walking if you could think of some other everyday activities you could apply mindfulness to. Did you think of any? Here are some more:

Other Mindfulness Opportunities

  • Getting ready for bed or when you’re getting up from bed.
  • When you’re showering or bathing.
  • When you’re commuting or driving to work or school.
  • Doing household tasks such as cooking, cleaning or washing up.
  • Or when you’re spending time with loved ones, such as playing with your children or younger brothers and sisters, talking to your parents.
  • Visiting your partner or just chatting with friends.

You can apply mindfulness to anything, and for that matter, everything that you do. Indeed, those who do mindfulness as a spiritual practise actually aim for 24/7 complete awareness. Our purpose is a little different though.

Key Takeaways

We are aiming for you to get used to being present to your experiences – as opposed to avoiding your experiences, ignoring them, suppressing them, or pretending they’re not happening.

This applies to the physical experience components of eating, walking, and sitting, but also to the cognitive and emotional experience components of having thoughts, images, memories and feelings.

In the same way that walking mindfully lets you see walking fully as walking, experiencing your thoughts and emotions mindfully allows you to see them for what they really are – not for what they claim themselves to be.

In Conversation 5: Your Values & Direction, your ability to be mindful of experiences will be brought to bear on a couple of important questions: “What is most important to you?” and “Where are you going?


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