Mindfulness has, unfortunately, become the newest buzzword of the 21st Century. While buzzwords provide an easy description of the state of things or sense of being ‘in the know,’ they can become overused, outdated or cliché. Of course, there are buzzwords that have little meaning or value and they are best relegated to go the way of the dinosaur. On the other hand, even though some words are treated as buzzwords because their true meaning has been adulterated or convoluted to the degree it seems meaningless becomes a significant loss to everyone. Mindfulness seems to be one of the words that became adulterated or convoluted and has lost its inherent value.
The true meaning of mindfulness is the state of being conscious of something involving acceptance and paying attention to one’s thoughts and feelings without judging them.
Heartfulness is synonymous with true Mindfulness. Have you ever forgot something? When you leave a friend do you forget what you talked about? Do you sometimes have a hard time focusing on a conversation? Mindfulness is about being in the NOW….but what NOW are you experiencing? Does your mind rush ahead of what you are doing at that very moment? Or do you reach back and think about something related or unrelated to the current experience?
Mindfulness and staying in the NOW takes commitment and practice. These steps will bring you into a strong mindfulness habit.
- Mindfulness meditation practice is easy: Meditation sets the foundation to stay focused in the moment. Sit in a comfortable position with your feet on the floor, pay attention to your breath—breathe in relaxation and breathe out tension. If your attention wanders, simply refocus on your breath and allowing your mind to be devoid of thoughts. When your mind is void of conjured thoughts, thoughts from the Universal Knowledge will float in. Herein lies, the ah-ha moments and solutions to issues.
- When you wake up, before getting up, notice your breathing. The quality of your breath is an indicator or your state of being. When your breath is slow and steady you are calm and peaceful. When the breath is constricted you are tense—fear, anger or dread might be the underlying feeling.
- Before getting up, notice your thoughts. What was your first thought upon waking? This practice helps you to be in touch with what is on your mind or fragments of your dream(s).
- When possible eat silently and mindfully. Eat meals without doing anything else. Eat them sitting down, rather than standing up or in your car or on the run. Taste every morsel of food and enjoy the aroma and texture of your food. Chewing the food thoroughly, versus gulping it. Before you eat, consider the people involved in providing the food on your plate – farmers, truck drivers, clerks in supermarkets. Offer gratitude for all these people. Gratitude sets a positive tone.
- Notice your environment: sunlight, rain, the wind, trees, sights, and sounds—avoid bemoaning if the weather isn’t ideal. On your way to work, school, an appointment or your daily errands, be mindful of driving your car, walking, sitting on the subway, bus or commuter train. Notice yourself as you arrive at your destination, your state of mind, beliefs, thoughts, and feelings. Are you in the present moment or thinking ahead to what you will do next? Notice your body, and let your breathing help you relax your shoulders and soften your face. Think of enjoyable experiences or simply enjoy yourself in the moment.
- Notice when you stop the pressure of pushing to get where you are going and simply enjoy the process of getting there. Notice if you become agitated if traffic is slow. If so, what are you willing to do to be relaxed and accept what is?
- Practice mindful, conscious breathing throughout your day: at work, while sitting down, at your desk, at your computer, in meetings, while speaking on the phone and in person.
- Allow yourself to be calm and peaceful. Use daily cues to remind yourself to be mindful: the doorbell, the telephone, a mindfulness bell on your computer, turning on a light, checking your watch or a clock for the time. You can keep the momentum going. Like practicing meditation if you get off track, without judgment bring yourself back.
- Whenever you feel tension—fear, anger, resentment, focus on your breathing, smile, notice the quality of your thoughts and feelings.
- Approach meals with mindfulness and gratitude. Remind yourself to taste what you are eating.
- When you transition from your daily activities, take a moment to appreciate what you have accomplished and consider how you have interacted with others. Was your speech kind, helpful and appropriate to the situation? Remember to be a non-judgmental observer.
- Consider your trip home as a transition time between your day’s activities and your time at home.
- Approach your homecoming and the people you come home to, with peacefulness, humility, and kindness.
- When you lie down and prepare for sleep, breathe, become aware of your body and relax, and let go of daily activities and of your anticipation of tomorrow.
Mindfulness is a state of being. No one can stop you from practicing mindfulness nor will anyone know you are practicing it. What they will notice is your sense of calm and ease in the moment.
My heartfelt gift for your mindfulness, moment to moment all ways always.