In a nutshell, mindfulness can be summed up as a very attentive and nonjudgmental quality of awareness towards anything and everything that’s arising in the present moment. We can have mindfulness towards our thoughts and emotions, we can have mindfulness as we eat, walk, and we can be mindful as we relate to others. The beauty of mindfulness is that it can be cultivated for any and every circumstance and situation of life. And the more we cultivate mindfulness, the more we are awake to living in the present moment, rather than in past ruminations or future fantasies.
Mindfulness can transform our lives in so many wonderful ways. It’s a highly relaxing tonic for our minds, and also helps us to see things more clearly. We all see life through our own unique perceptions, but the clearer and more mindful we are, the more we actually see things as they really are. This helps us in our relationships, in our careers, in our health – in every aspect of our lives, really.
There are lots and lots of ways to practice mindfulness so that it becomes a lifestyle – an actual way of being. One technique is to practice mindfulness meditation. This is the most powerful way to strengthen our innate abilities to be mindful. When we practice mindful meditation, we can focus on our breath, becoming very aware and present to each inhalation and exhalation. We can also practice mindfulness meditation by closing the eyes and focusing our attention on bodily sensations. The breath and body are an ideal place to begin – especially when it comes to beginners just starting the practice.
This is the case because no matter where you are, and no matter what the situation, your breath, and the physical sensations in your body are always happening in the present moment. It’s pretty cool when you think about it, and all you need to do is close your eyes (or not) and focus your attention on either the breath or physical body without judging or labeling it as “good” or “bad.” You can do it anytime – the practice can be done formally on a meditation cushion in the quiet of your home, or even when you’re out and about it a loud and busy world.
The benefits of mindfulness are many, and you’ll find that the more you explore the practice, the more your life will expand and evolve in wonderful ways.
Written by: Aimee Hughes