Sunday, March 3, 2013

What the hell is mindfulness?

There are many definitions regarding mindfulness. I've always taught mindfulness as paying-attention-to-the-present-moment. But there is more to mindfulness than being present, for what does it mean to be present? Of course it means that our attention is rooted in the present moment, with the actual sensations of being alive, the sounds, the vibrations, the itches, the breathing, the random thoughts - everything that is actually going on. But there is also a quality of openness, of acceptance, of curiosity. And mindfulness it isn't just relaxation and day dreaming! There is also focus and concentration and groundedness.

Some people try too hard to pay attention to the present and become angry. They want something else. The mindfulness I am talking about is cultivating the attitude of this-is-good-enough. While things may not be perfect, they are pretty good and it is only our expectation and desire for more than creates a negative perception of the present moment. But through mindfulness, we can become aware of our over-reaching expectations and begin to let go of them. Then we are more easily a of accepting imperfection. In this way we become much more free to act in the present moment in ways that are right and natural.

Wisdom Commons defines mindfulness as:
Mindfulness is focused awareness of the present moment. Mindfulness lets us be fully conscious of a simple sensation like the warmth of sunlight or of the complex interplay between our thoughts and feelings.

By tuning in to mental processes, we are able to recognize that our thoughts are just thoughts; they don't necessarily represent reality. We can observe them rather than being subject to them.

Mindfulness lets us absorb the richness of the moment instead of going through life with half of our attention on the past or future or our own mental chatter. The self-knowledge that comes from mindfulness lets us be more intentional in choosing priorities and actions that fit our life mission.

I like this definition! This is what the hell mindfulness is. Now go ahead and practice it yourself!

3 comments:

Eric Myers said...

I have a very difficult time not thinking towards the future or dwelling on the past. This helped me to come to terms with the fact that my life IS fine where it is at. There is no reason for me to be angry at myself for not improving at a particular rate of progress I may be striving for because as long as I am taking steps in the right direction it will work out in the end. I heard a great quote the other day from this show called Avatar: The Last Airbender it went something like this "Follow your passions and life will reward you." You should watch it...

Eric Myers said...

I have a very difficult time not thinking towards the future or dwelling on the past. This helped me to come to terms with the fact that my life IS fine where it is at. There is no reason for me to be angry at myself for not improving at a particular rate of progress I may be striving for because as long as I am taking steps in the right direction it will pay off in the end. I heard a great quote the other day from this show called Avatar: The Last Airbender it went something like this "Follow your passions and life will reward you." You should watch it...

Eric Myers said...

I have a very difficult time not thinking towards the future or dwelling on the past. This helped me to come to terms with the fact that my life IS fine where it is at. There is no reason for me to be angry at myself for not improving at a particular rate of progress I may be striving for because as long as I am taking steps in the right direction it will pay off in the end. I heard a great quote the other day from this show called Avatar: The Last Airbender it went something like this "Follow your passions and life will reward you." You should watch it...