Mindfulness is defined as “a technique in which one focuses one’s full attention only on the present, experiencing thoughts, feelings, and sensations but not judging them.” In our fast paced society of social media likes, having email and texts coming in 24-7, and constant stimulation, mindfulness is not a way of being for most of us. It is, however, gaining popularity as a way to be present and enjoy life to the fullest.
Some people when thinking of mindfulness imagine meditating on a remote mountain, or studying with an Eastern guru. Mindfulness is a practice that you can cultivate no matter where you live, your ethnicity, your socio-economic status, or gender. Mindfulness is for everyone.
Cultivating the art of mindfulness can be life-changing.
Here are some key ways mindfulness can change your life:
- Increased gratitude. Mindfulness teaches us to see things with a beginners mind. We may have done the dishes 1000’s of times. It teaches us to be here, gratitude for the warm running water, the earth friendly soap, the home we live in where we store our dishes.
- Greater compassion. Compassion is a desire that all living being are free from suffering. We begin to be of service because when someone is in pain, it’s the same as our pain. It’s an opportunity to come together.
- Acceptance. We can let go of the time we used to spend judging everything from how bad the traffic is on the freeway onramp to how much perfume our co-worker is wearing. Acceptance is a practice that cultivates peace.
- You find the source of problems. When you observe discomfort every time you see a particular person, mindfulness gives you the tools to see what the thinking is that causes the pain. What are you judging them for? What feelings are underneath? A co-worker that just got promoted may stir jealousy or envy. This reflection can lead to awareness of your own shortcomings and actions you need to take.
- A way to center yourself anytime, anyplace. 5 minutes in the bathroom can bring you back to center. Mindfulness isn’t just for mountains and meditation cushions.
- Identify patterns that cause pain. Mindfulness creates awareness. You begin to notice that when you feel anxious you may eat unhealthy food, or after a long day of work you need to get drinks with friends.
Being mindful is to be attentive and aware. There is no time like the present to begin the practice of mindfulness. Enjoy the journey!
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