Conditioning the Self to be Mindful through Observation and Stillness
The term “mindful” is heard in many places nowadays, from books and videos to yoga and meditation classes. But what does it mean? The short answer is that being mindful means being acutely aware – aware of yourself, your emotions and the world around you. Achieving mindfulness is another matter, but it is not difficult.
Many people use sitting meditation as a path to mindfulness. When you are still and silent, focusing only on the breath, a greater awareness of yourself and your environment begin. Allowing thoughts to simply float through your mind with no attachment to them brings you closer to the essence of your being, to the present moment. Observing the sounds around you, but not holding onto them, feeling the air on your skin, knowing how you feel at this very second, all help to bring you to a mindful state. Awareness is key.
Staying mindful throughout your day takes practice. This can be done by seeing, hearing and feeling everything that is occurring in the moment. Take a minute to breathe deeply and exhale slowly. This helps to ground you. Then practice your awareness. What are you doing? Do you have anything in your hands? What sounds and aromas are surrounding you? Listen to all your senses. If you are doing a strenuous task such as working out, how do you feel? Notice all of it. This makes your activity full of meaning and very immediate. You are focused. You are one with whatever you are doing. Your thoughts about the rest of your day or the disagreement you had with a friend yesterday are irrelevant in this moment.
Mindfulness means doing things with deliberateness that you never had before. It gives all you activities, like washing the dishes, importance, meaning and pleasure. It allows you to be totally present and yourself. It is a new paradigm, a new mindset.
Practicing this takes commitment, but it is well worth your effort. As your awareness grows, so does your joy. Being present in the moment and being mindful of your world and yourself in it, is worth its weight in gold. It is freedom and release. It is connecting with the unity of all things. It is understanding your soul’s purpose.