What Is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is awareness of the present moment. The present moment holds a potentially infinite number things going on both inside the mind and out. If you are mindful, any one aspect of experience does not overburden you.

There is a natural balance between thinking and doing. You are not completely lost in an activity, neither are you completely lost in thought. Whether you are eating a meal, playing a musical instrument or sitting alone by yourself, you are aware of what you are doing.

Your mind is not blinded by judgment, evaluation or any rigid way of thinking. Anything that passes before the attention is accepted and welcomed. You simply observe whatever is happening, without taking sides or forming attachments to any singular mindset. You are mindful when your mind is open to new thoughts, new ideas, new possibilities and new ways of thinking.

Why is mindfulness important? A state of mindfulness frees us from life’s entanglements. In day-to-day experience, the conscious mind is always struggling to keep up with an endless flow of changes in the external world. To make it’s job easier, the mind creates a series of generalizations and assumptions about our selves and the world so we don’t need as much thinking.

Although we need generalizations in order to make sense of the world, these assumptions also work to prevent us from seeing the truth of ourselves.

Are you ever in the habit of making identity statements about yourself? Do you ever say things like “I am X” or “I’m not Y” (where X and Y are qualities that you identify with – like confidence, outrageous, fear etc)?

The truth is that you are much more than any singular emotion. Even though you might think you’re this or you’re that kind of person, isn’t it true you’re capable of doing the exact opposite – or even doing something completely different?

We might say that mindfulness meditation is the process of becoming aware of the assumptions we’ve made about the world and ourselves. Being mindful is realizing that we are more than any apparent or passing limitation.

Mindfulness applies to all aspects of life.

Whatever is going on, whether we are working, running or enjoying a meal, we should be aware of what is going on. Not overburdened with worries or dreams of the future, not full of regret or longing for the past, just experiencing the present moment in all its fullness.

By Matt Clarkson

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