What is Mindfulness?
Everywhere I look lately, I see the term “mindful.” Whether it is mindful eating, parenting, schooling, relationships, etc. It seems to be a hot topic. So what is mindfulness, anyway? It is actually a very simple concept. The definition of mindfulness is paying attention to the present moment, on purpose, without judgment. Huh? It is the practice of being fully present in the moment, engaged with what is happening when it is happening. It sounds obvious; however, often times we are not present at all in the moment.
For example, we may be taking a shower but the whole time we spend in our minds, perhaps planning our day, obsessing about a past argument, worrying about finances, telling ourselves to hurry up and the list goes on. How many of us take a shower and are aware of the fact that we are actually in the shower? Do you feel the water hit your skin, smell the different scents of soaps and shampoo, or listen to the sound of the water?
Try it out for yourselves and see how easily our minds become distracted. We have trained our minds to be constantly busy. When we decide to pay attention to the present moment, it becomes obvious how often we are absent for our present life. Oftentimes, we are totally unaware that our attention has been hijacked by thoughts of obsessing over the past, worrying about the future, planning, judging, daydreaming.
If we do not train our attention to be in the NOW, we will miss our lives as it is happening right in front of our own eyes. Through practice, we become aware of sounds, smells, sights, touch, emotions, and thoughts as they are occurring. We become the observer of all of these happenings and can hold them all in our awareness.
Through mindfulness, we learn, first hand, that we are not our thoughts but the observer our thoughts. We can take a step back and with curiosity and kindness, witness our inner landscape (our thoughts, feelings, shadows and light). Overtime, we realize we have a choice. We are not victims of our thoughts, feelings, or circumstances. We, in fact, hold the key to unlock our own flow of love and creativity.
Mindfulness is a limitless tool for self-discovery. It is an experiential process, meaning that you cannot just read about mindfulness to understand the process and receive its benefits. You actually have to practice and develop the skill to be present.
You must train your attention to be in the moment and over time its benefits will be revealed. Trusting in the process and committing to yourself are what I have found to be the most important factors on my mindful journey. I am here to help with your process. No one can do the work for you.
Just begin …