Mindfulness is a hot topic amongst spiritual leaders, Western philosophers, and psychologists that is deeply rooted in Buddhist traditions. It is widely used by psychologists to positively alleviate mental and physical conditions.
What is mindfulness and is mindfulness for you?
Marlatt & Kristeller define mindfulness as “bringing one’s complete attention to the present experience on a moment-to-moment basis”. Jon Kabat-Zinn defines mindfulness as "paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally" and "the art of conscious living". Kabat-Zinn is a famous teacher of mindfulness meditation and the founder of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center. He is sometimes referred to as the father of modern mindfulness. I recommend reading Kabat-Zinn's book titled Mindfulness for Beginners.
Mindfulness for Beginners is a good primer for understanding this basic idea that is being studied in depth by many of our respected philosophers and spiritual leaders and a topic that is reported to help children and adults in EVERY aspect of their lives.
Mindfulness is for everyone!
AWARENESS vs. THINKING
One of the things that caught me by surprise in Kabat-Zinn's book was the concept of adjusting one's default setting. The state of thinking is our default setting. Mindfulness emphasizes being aware over being lost in thought. I had never really thought how much time I spend thinking when I could be enjoying the present moment. Throughout the day, there are multiple instances when I am physically present but mentally absent and disengaged. Kabat-Zinn compares thoughts to the commentary one hears during a sporting event. The commentary reflects someone else's views and opinions of the event. The sporting event would be viewed and experienced differently without the commentary.
Thoughts are the self-generated voice-over of life. Mostly these thoughts are about the past or future. Kabat-Zinn says that "thinking completely dominates our lives and colors everything we feel and do and care about". Sometimes, it is the continuous negative thought pattern reel. What if we silenced the outside and inside voices once in a while? Life could be experienced differently with an increased focus on being aware of the here and now without the often annoying, negative, and destructive voice-over. Think - is your mind full OR are you being mindful?
Mindfulness is noticing when we are lost in thoughts and being aware enough to deliberately return to the present moment experience.
BEING vs. DOING
Mindfulness is being instead of doing; it is being present now.
The state of doing is the mindless rush of the day where we multi-task from sunrise to sundown. I often spend my work day multi-tasking over 10 tasks at a time. I bounce from one task to another all day and. sometimes, I do not complete any tasks. Then I mix in social and family events/tasks with work events/tasks. The to-do list never seems to get shorter. The state of doing is the non-stop juggling of all aspects of our life all day every day. The state of being is being present for the moment of right now. It is forgetting about the to-do-list long enough to focus on a singular task in front of us. Just be. |be aware|
Ms. Bhakti Mary
I am an optimistic, positive, generous and driven author who is passionate about self-improvement.
The essence of who you are does not lie in the past. What matters is what you are willing to do NOW. You are the presence.