‘What’ Skills – Participate
Participating is the act of entering wholly and with awareness into the present moment. It is the ultimate goal of mindfulness.
Participating fully in a moment isn’t just a key part of mindfulness – it’s actually a very useful skill in everyday life. Imagine if you went bowling with friends, and were considering what you needed to do when you got home – clothes washing, tidying, bill paying – or what you were doing at work tomorrow. Would you have a good time? Probably not. But if you immerse yourself in this activity, and are fully present, you will enjoy the experience. Participation can lead to maximum wellbeing.
And those other tasks you were thinking about? They are all still there after the bowling, and nothing bad happened just because you weren’t thinking about them.
When we are fully participating, and become an integral part of the situation, there is a merging of action and awareness – we are no longer separated from what we are doing. We are fully self-conscious in a positive way.
To be an expert in any taks, practice is key. We must learn and practice, until we become experts. We practice until we are able to fully immerse ourselves in an activity or task, and be able to do it without distractions or negative thoughts. And then we keep practicing, because like any skill it needs to be reinforced.
We haved looked at the three skills of observing, describing and particpating as core skills in mindfulness. Sometimes it can be difficult to know when to do these things. If you are participating in an activity when you are unsure what to do, or making mistakes, step back.
Remember, we can only do one of these skills at a time. if participating isn’t working, we step back and go back to observing. Slow down and pay attention to what you are doing. This is a particular need when you notice there is a problem in your life, you need to step back, observe and describe the problem situation and your reactions to it. Then you can figure out what you need to do to resolve the situaiton effectively, and return to participating.