Mindfulness is, according Google, “a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.”
Now that kind of makes sense but I gotta tell you – the first time I heard the term “mindfulness,” I thought “what the heck am I supposed to do with this?!?!” I had visions of monks walking prayerfully and slowly around Zen gardens, with intense attention given to every little breath and movement. Not exactly something I could apply easily to everyday life, huh?
I mean in the middle of real life who has time to be mindful? Who has time to focus on just one thing when there are 1000 things to be done? And who can calmly acknowledge and accept their emotions and thoughts when they’re facing major drama or trying to navigate a treacherous sea of wild emotion?
Not me 🙂
So in a practical sense, what is mindfulness and how does it apply to real life?
I define mindfulness as simply being as present and aware in this moment as I can.
It means that when I’m doing something I try and pay attention to the bigger picture, how it impacts not only me but the world around me, and how I can add love and beauty through my thoughts, words and actions.
It means staying in the moment and experiencing creation unfolding around me. I can’t do this all the time (who can?) but when I do it’s a profound and moving experience.
It means when I lament the past or worry about the future, that at some point I can come back to the present and remind myself that in this moment I’m ok.
It means that when I’m doing a task I have the ability to shut the rest of the world out, focusing wholly and completely on that one thing. Not always but sometimes, and when I succeed it feels like a deep and intense meditation.
It means that when I’m in the middle of drama or a tense situation I can mentally take a step back and become the observer, detaching for a moment from the chaos around me. Again not always but when I’m successful I stay calm through the chaos and often help to dissipate tension and resolve the situation.
And it means when working toward a goal I can focus on the end result I want instead of getting lost in the details. Oh I still sometimes get lost and even derailed for a bit, but by remembering to be mindful I can get myself back on track and headed in the right direction.
Are you getting idea of what mindfulness is and how you can use it in the real world? Contemplate it mindfully and add your thoughts and comments below 🙂