Frequently Asked Questions

Learn more about Mindfulness

 

Observing, Noticing, Recognising 

It seems everyone talks about mindfulness now, but truly what is mindfulness?

Mindfulness is growing our capacity to practice paying kind, compassionate, non-judgmental attention to what is happening to us inwardly and outwardly in the present moment.

Inwardly: our thinking process, our thoughts, our emotions and body sensations.

Outwardly:  what is happening around us (including others with and around us, our reactions to them, our reactions to our surroundings, and to what is happening there).

How does mindfulness therapy work?


Mindfulness therapy takes your focus to aspects of yourself that need your attention. Mindful focus on your deepest needs creates an awareness of your thoughts, feelings, and body sensations. This mindful awareness reveals choices. Mindful awareness allows you to choose wisely how you relate to yourself, to others, and to life itself. It reveals the different ways you can respond to all your life experiences whether they are ordinary and every day, or arise unexpectedly and are challenging. By developing the capacity to make better aware choices, you create the optimal conditions for deep healing which opens the way for you to live with less inner conflict and greater joy.




What does mindfulness feel like?


Mindfulness is a practice that connects you to your full experience of the present moment—your body sensations, what you are feeling, what you are thinking, and the effect of your thoughts and feelings on what you are experiencing right now. You could say it is your experience of the present moment: NOT only as you are seeing it
NOT only as you are feeling it
NOT only as you think it is, or think it should or should not be JUST AS IT IS … RIGHT NOW This is what makes mindfulness a healing practice. Mindfulness shows us who and how we really are. Having a more open understanding of ourselves allows us to support and enhance our own healing. Which is how mindfulness prepares us for true healing, healing that makes us whole.




Are mindfulness and mindfulness therapy different?


For many people, mindfulness is an elusive concept—something that would be good to do but sounds too hard to achieve and too good to be true. My Mindfulness Therapy turns the elusive concept of mindfulness into a truthful, embodied experience you can cultivate and integrate into your life. I see it as my mission to provide Mindfulness Therapy that is grounded in the challenges of life.
I offer a down-to-earth, heartfelt exploration of mindfulness which is directly relevant to your present condition and circumstances. This direct, personal, compassionate attention makes mindfulness real for you.




Why practice mindfulness?


Mindfulness is practice. Mindfulness invites us through practice to use the wisdom of our own body to guide and raise our attention. Practicing mindful attention enhances our capacity for awareness. The practice of mindfulness offers us methods, tools and processes we can use in our lives to open up to new ways of relating to ourselves and all that is around us. It’s formal and informal practices are like a gym for our mind. Just as many of us choose to do physical exercise, mindfulness is something we choose to do by choosing to practice. There is no other way to exercise the muscles of mindfulness that support our transition to living from the inside out. When we practice mindfulness, we take good care of our internal life. We reduce our reliance on external things and find that external circumstances are not our primary source of joy and contentment.




When is the best time to practice mindfulness?


All that happens in our lives is the direct curriculum of mindful living.
Which means we can practice any time and anywhere.
But mindfulness is not something we can switch on in an instant. Life programs us to overthink when we’re busy, and to get lost in thought when we’re not. It takes intentional practice to be present and become aware. We can use any of our actions and experiences to practice attentive listening and soft observation which are the muscles of mindfulness. And often the weights that develop inner knowing (and through inner knowing, inner strength) are life’s challenges and hardships. As our life progresses through time, it is never working against us. In many ways, it is just pointing again and again to what needs our compassionate attention. Our deep needs are revealed through practicing mindfulness which invites us to meet these needs without resistance and connect with being who we are. Through regular practice, we mature into a deeper relationship with ourselves and all that is happening in our life. This process is ongoing and continues throughout our lives. Which is how, through time, practicing mindfulness becomes a way of life.
Joyful. Resilient. Always healing. Whole.




How does mindfulness heal?


Mindfulness practices have become internationally popular in the past decade, but their roots reach 2,500 years into the past. It is grounded today in vast medical research and in solid scientific evidence.
Mindfulness practices can increase our ability to regulate emotions, reduce reactivity, and decrease stress, anxiety and depression. Mindfulness helps us to focus our attention and observe our thoughts and feelings without completely identifying with them, and without constantly judging ourselves and others.
We are currently experiencing an epidemic of high-stress levels, feelings of being overwhelmed, disconnection, detachment, exhaustion, worthlessness, anxiety and depression.
Many of us journey through our lives as if on automatic pilot, unaware of what is really happening. We are so busy doing whatever it is we are doing, that we are also busy thinking and reacting. In many ways, this imprisons us in our emotional responses and unconsciously limiting patterns and beliefs.
Living like this means we miss so much of our one and only unique and precious life.
We might know in some way we can be our own worst enemy, but even thinking like this means our desire to change is framed as a struggle against parts of ourselves that are not right, or things that are not right in our lives. We might think something is missing. Or that we need to change or fix ourselves. Perhaps because we are not good enough, not good enough yet, not worthy, not okay.
This thinking means our relationship with ourselves and others is full of thoughts about what should or shouldn't be.
The irony is that we have the keys to free ourselves from our limitations.
By practicing mindfulness we grow our capacity to hold all that arises in our life with soft and kind awareness. This liberates us to choose mindfully how we respond to life, to challenges, to change.
There is no longer any need for the subtle aggression of self-improvement, for self-criticism, for the endless guilt of not being enough or not doing enough. We recognise the radical possibility that we don’t need to change or fix ourselves. We don’t need to look for anything special or go anywhere or find something we think we are lacking.
Instead, we discover all that we need is already here under our noses waiting for us to notice it—to dis-cover it. The word itself tells us what we are looking for is already here.
By wrapping our inner and outer experiences with kind compassionate awareness, we dis-cover our true nature, our true self which holds vast wisdom, contentment, creativity and true joy.
Mindfulness embraces the paradox framed by many poets such as T.S Eliot who wrote in his powerful poem Four Quarters—
“We shall not cease from exploration and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.”
The healing practice of mindfulness invites us to rest in our own awareness so we can journey with ease.




Why is healing greater than cure?


To heal comes from the Latin word whole To be whole takes us far beyond cure When we cure, we fix a problem. We want to be cured because we want whatever is wrong to go away. But where did the problem come from? And does getting rid of the evidence really mean it has gone away? True healing happens when we learn how to loosen the hold of all that we think and feel, and develop our capacity to cultivate truly compassionate awareness. True healing takes place when we make space and take time to observe and attend all aspects of our being which need our compassionate attention. True healing takes place when we stop fighting what is, and instead allow ourselves to abide in what exists in each moment. This is not passive observation, but a willingness to recognise things as they are. Why? Because these things are present and already part of our lives. Instead of resisting, we need to respond. When we are willing to wrap the totality of our experience in true awareness—then, and only then—we make space for true healing to occur. This encompasses ALL healing … Some of what is present may persist.
Some may resolve.
Some may reappear. Whatever discomfort or challenge arises, true and sustained healing is always available to us. Because it is not about fixing what is wrong with our bodies. It is also not about fixing what goes on in our minds. It is about attending to all that is present in our experience with love, care, tenderness and self-compassion. This creates conditions for healing that goes far beyond cure. It opens our world into a whole universe of potential for ongoing renewal and change. Our world whole.
A whole universe of opportunities and possibilities. I invite you to read about my healing journey here




Will mindfulness therapy work for me ?


All of us journey through our lives. We begin at the beginning and end at the end. Many of us experience significant parts of our lives as a battle. Life doesn’t have to be a battle. If you want to stop fighting against what life has delivered up to you then, yes, Mindfulness Therapy will work for you. My one-on-one Mindfulness Programs wrap your specific life challenges into therapeutic sessions that provide deep personal care. My Mindfulness and Meditation Course works well for people who already have some awareness of their need to heal and want to better understand and evolve their capacity for true self-care. My Reparenting Workshop shakes out the welcome mat for you to meet, greet and embrace your inner child so that healing can unfold. If any of these offerings resonate with you then— yes, Mindfulness Therapy will work for you. I would love to walk with you.
To help you journey on. If you feel ready to walk a while with me, Email me iris@irisbar.com.au to talk about the best way to begin our first steps together





What mindfulness is not!

 

Mindfulness is not our default mode of operating in the world as a thinking, doing human being.


Mindfulness is not asking us to replace what we tend to call negative thinking with positive, happy thoughts.
 

Mindfulness is not asking us to be positive and happy all the time.
 

Mindfulness is not superficial. It is not a means to an end. Not something you can do for a time and then forget about. Mindfulness is about being truthful and authentic with ourselves and others as the moments of our lives unfold.
 

Mindfulness is not a switch we can turn on because we decide it’s a good idea to be more mindful.
 

Mindfulness is not that easy—but—mindfulness is also not hard. 
It does take practice. When we commit to mindful practice, we stop battling against what we think is wrong in our life.
 

Mindfulness does not make what is wrong right. Instead, it allows us to see where, when and how the things we consider wrong belong.

Like to know more about Mindfulness?

Talk to Iris to discuss your particular needs and objectives

Image by Debby Hudson

LOVE

 

Love means to learn to look at yourself

The way one looks at distant things

For you are only one thing among many.

And whoever sees that way heals his heart,

Without knowing it, from various ills.

A bird and a tree say to him: Friend.

Then he wants to use himself and things

So that they stand in the glow of ripeness.

It doesn’t matter whether he knows what he serves:

Who serves best doesn’t always understand.

by Czesław Miłosz