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Mindfulness

by Niklas Olausson (MA EU International Relations and Diplomacy College of Europe – Manuel Marín Promotion)


Thinking that Swedes have a silly accent is totally fine (but be aware!)


We all have an inner voice that constantly comments everything around us. Indeed, it would seem that the movie called ‘life’ did not come without a subtitles-option. Although, having this inner commentary is absolutely necessary for making good life choices and so on, it can be exhaustive since we sometimes have harsh thoughts of others and of ourselves. The question is, are we really in control of our own thoughts or are we just acting compulsively under them?


To overcome this, being mindful is not about judging our thoughts as good or bad, nor to ‘stop thinking’ as many believe, but it’s instead about expanding awareness. For example, thinking ‘what a silly accent that Swedish guy has’ is being mindless while ‘I am having thoughts that the Swedish guy has a silly accent’ is being mindful. In this way, being mindful, creates a distance from thoughts that allows us to engage with ideas we wish to engage with and find more meaningful. You may even say that it offers more freedom.


Modern science is catching up with the Buddha

Mindfulness can be defined as “the skill of being deliberately attentive to one’s experience as it unfolds”. It derives from ancient practices such as breathing meditation and yoga, that have been taught for millennia in India and Southeast Asia (for questions, ask Vash). Furthermore, more and more studies confirm the strong positive effect mindfulness practices have on human health. Today, companies such as Google are running mindfulness programs and mindfulness recently became a new subject in English schools, in order to tackle declining mental health. Clearly, mindfulness has gone mainstream today. How far into the future will the College of Europe have mindfulness on its schedule (try to sell this one student reps!)?


How to start - Workshop at the College on mindful eating

Mindfulness, by definition, can be implemented on all aspects of life and a good place to start is to practice meditation or yoga. One of the most prevalent and basic techniques is to become aware of the breath. But why the breath you may ask? The breath is an anchor to the present moment since it is always happening now. By focusing on it we are teaching our mind to stay present while becoming an observer of moments as they unfold in our lives. It’s really a skill like any other that improves with practice.


Furthermore, another pleasurable way to be more mindful is by going deeper into your eating experience. By being grateful to what we eat and by being aware of how the food looks, tastes, feels and smells we learn to appreciate food significantly more. In addition to benefitsrelated to individuals, it also seems that our society needs more awareness in this area considering food waste, eatingdisorders and other food issues.


On the 16st of February, the Beyond Belief society organized a workshop on mindful eating focusing on the sensatory experience unfolding while eating. We listened to an excerpt of an audiobook on the topic, by the Harvard Professor Mark W. Muesse and watched a short clip on the significance of food choices by the Indian yogi Sadhguru. After an interactive listening session, during which we each ate a canteen tangerine, we shared our reflections and thoughts.


Stay tuned for more events and please let us know if you like to participate or have an interest in the topic. Another workshop may be organized!




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