The power of 'then' – mindfulness meditation

Mindfulness Meditation has made a big impression on our lives, encouraging us to live in the only moment that exists – the current one. With the past beyond us and the future before us, well-known spiritual author Tolle tells us that anything that exists beyond the second that the clock currently ticks through is mere illusion, and time is nothing but a construct of our human need for control. From focussing on an empty mind to feeling each soap sud that weaves its way between the fingers as we wash the dishes, we are told that being mindful of the present moment not only enhances life’s experiences but also trains the mind at a deeper level, culminating in a greater strength and calmness of mind for times when it is more than soap suds that dance around our human flesh.

Mindfulness is making inroads into all areas of our lives – diet, parenting, relationships and education – but there is also power in moving outside the now, even outside of reality, and using visualisation to live in the ‘then’. Visualisation, like mindfulness, involves being aware of one’s own thoughts and entering into the somewhat ethereal world that exists behind closed eyes.

Visualisation is used in two main ways: firstly, in helping a person to imagine a future event and ‘rehearse’ how they will approach it – synthesising emotions and sensations likely to occur and working through how to cope with associated feelings. For example, a job interview, a difficult conversation or any significant life event can be lived first on the underside of the eyelids, preparing for the real thing. Secondly, it can be used to seek solace, comfort and joy in imagined situations, those that serve the purpose of giving us that which life cannot provide but which we yearn for to nourish the mind and soul. A conversation with a distant friend, bathing in rays of sun in a sheltered sandy cove, and dreams realised in sepia reality.

Mindfulness and visualisation work together to calm the soul, soothe the mind and help us to live in the moment we desire – be it now, or then.

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