What is Mindfulness?
When your mind goes away, so do your thoughts. It’s not that you become stupid; rather, you become conscious. Buddha uses the phrase “right mindfulness” millions of times throughout his teachings.
When your mind is captivated and ideas fade away, you become aware. You do things – you walk, work, eat, sleep – but you’re always aware. It’s easy to mistake the mind for something else. Mindfulness, on the other hand, is a lot more difficult to detect. What exactly is mindfulness?
It’s about paying attention. It’s at its pinnacle. It’s not thinking or planning. It’s simply being aware, present with whatever it is you are doing. Mindfulness creates perfect awareness.
Mindfulness is awareness at this moment. It is about paying attention to what is happening right now. Mindfulness is awareness of our thoughts and feelings. It is about seeing the emotions and not identifying with them as if they were who we are, we are witnessing the mind. We are not the mind itself.
The practice of mindfulness is a non-judgmental acceptance of our thoughts and feelings. It’s about accepting things as they are now. Mindfulness practice involves moment-by-moment awareness of what’s happening in the present moment – in our bodies, in our emotions, in the world around us, and how we interact with it all through our senses.
Mindfulness is a quality of awareness that allows us to experience the present moment on purpose, calmly, and clearly. It is cultivated by consciously paying attention to our moment-to-moment experience with an accepting, nonjudgmental attitude.
Mindfulness is ‘bare attention. It’s being aware of what’s happening around you right now without judging it as bad or good.
What Exactly is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is a great awareness of the present moment that is developed through practice. You can also think of mindfulness as a type of meditation that helps you become more aware and attentive to things as they are, without judgment.
The idea behind mindfulness is to not let your emotions control you, but rather understand what those emotions are doing and why. Once this happens, it becomes easier to control them. Mindfulness also focuses on being in the present moment, which you’ll find is very different from most western countries who are always thinking about the next thing or project they need to get done.
This means that mindfulness is allowing yourself to look at something from different points of view in order to better understand it. Mindfulness encourages you to look at everything from a different perspective.
Mindfulness is not a goal or a desire. It can’t be a goal because when there is one, you’re always in the wrong. Why are you unhappy or dissatisfied when there is a goal? Because desire exists when you desire something, anxiety – whether you will be able to do it or not – arises. Will it be possible for you to accomplish it? If I don’t accomplish the goal, I will be unhappy.
Anxiety is what arises when there is a goal in life. You always want something to accomplish then you run after it and because of that, you are never satisfied with what you already have. Happiness, on the other hand, is independent of our success.
And this is why it is always present, but at the same time, you can’t imagine it because you are always thinking about something. You never stop thinking and looking for happiness outside of yourself. The wheel just keeps on spinning desire after desire.
In order to be happy, we have to come back inside ourselves and look for a little happiness inside us. Why do we think that paradise is somewhere else? If I don’t go to paradise, will I be unhappy?
Where is this paradise and what makes it different from where we already are? The same thing happens with mindfulness. When we say that we want to be mindful all the time, we always place a goal in front of us and what do we need to possess in order to achieve that?
Mindfulness is something that is always there. You can’t put it in your pocket or on a shelf. And this is what we do too often: We look for it outside of ourselves instead of looking to see if perhaps everything we need has already been given to us.
What are the conditions required in order to be happy at this moment? Nothing. We are not required to do anything special, all we have to do is wake up in the morning and be mindful. Look outside of yourself for mindfulness if you don’t find it inside yourself.
Look at someone else who is practicing it to see whether you can get some inspiration from them. Stop for a moment and observe how they implement mindfulness exercises into their daily life.
Is this important? Is there something similar between us and that person? We all belong to the same species and we are living beings.
Perhaps we don’t look alike and it might be that you can’t see any similarities, but find out if this person has good intentions towards others if they like what they do, and if they love themselves.
If so, then perhaps something similar exists within you because you have to have the same qualities in order to be happy.
What are the 3 steps of Mindfulness?
Let’s remind ourselves of the 3 main elements that constitute mindfulness:
Attention, Awareness, and Acceptance.
Step 1: Mindfulness Requires Attention
The first step in mindfulness is paying attention to what you are doing, right now — what your body is doing; how it feels to be sitting, breathing. What feelings are you having? What’s going on in your mind at the moment, what thoughts are passing through it?
Step 2: Awareness
The second step is to become aware of your thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations as they pass by from moment to moment. It means being open to all aspects of experience, pleasant or unpleasant. You cannot ignore some experiences and attend only to others. All that you will be aware of will contribute to your mindfulness practice.
Step 3: Acceptance
The third step is a simple yet crucial one – acceptance of whatever is going on inside and outside of you right now – without any resistance or judgment – just allowing it all to be there – opening yourself up completely to the present moment as it unfolds – this brings peace and acceptance.
What is the Purpose of Mindfulness?
The purpose of mindfulness is to expand awareness. To expand awareness is to notice reality. To know reality is to be humble. To be humble is to accept things as they are and improve upon them as possible.
With such acceptance, mindfulness plants the seeds of wisdom, empathy, and compassion. These traits help cultivate altruism and live a meaningful life in alignment with values and purpose.
Who Wants Wisdom?
The answer depends on how you define it: Do you want true knowledge or do you want false reassurances? The first type of wisdom comes from an honest appraisal of your situation and the courage to take action based on what is best for yourself and others. It takes humility to admit we don’t have all the answers, especially when we’ve been wrong.
What is the Best Way to Cultivate Wisdom?
The best way to cultivate wisdom is with mindfulness training, acceptance, and compassion. Mindfulness means paying attention on purpose to your situation without reacting out of denial or avoidance.
Acceptance means acknowledging discomfort instead of avoiding it. This allows you to see things as they are regardless of whether you like them or not. Finally, compassion means treating others as you would like them to treat you in similar circumstances; what I call “remedial empathy” because it’s needed when our standard level isn’t enough.
Does mindfulness mean not thinking?
In mindfulness, thoughts disappear. When they do, awareness becomes vast and deep. Thoughts come and go in the space of awareness but never invade it.
We turn our attention from thinking to awareness itself. We may discover that thoughts are little more than clouds drifting across the sky as time goes on. they seem solid enough at first but vanish when observed closely.
Thoughts originate from nothing and vanish into it.
The same goes for feelings and sensations – they come and go without leaving a trace…
One mind-moment is like another – only the content of awareness differs. Awareness does not change, but because what we are aware of changes, we give rise to the feeling that the look and feel of our experience change as well.
But awareness is always the same. It does not change, nor can it be destroyed. There is no place in one mind moment to which it will “return.” Awareness can never become an object of itself since its nature is to know other things while remaining independent of them…
The moment we stop observing our experiences, thoughts, and feelings, the continuity of awareness is broken. We stop knowing that we are aware and experience ourselves as a self, defined by any one thought or feeling, or perhaps an apparently endless stream of thoughts and feelings.
We cannot be mindful while lost in memories or plans for the future or fantasies about past experiences. Because consciousness has no viewpoint within it, there is no place from which to observe what is going on within it.
Our thoughts and feelings vanish into nothing – but we still exist. This is why the Zen teachers call consciousness “nothing mind.” When we become conscious of experience, by contrast, a sense of self arises (ego) – a self that stands outside our experience and watches it with approval or disapproval, pride or shame, amusement or boredom.
The problem is that once we are self-conscious, it’s hard to get rid of the sense of being a self. The belief that there is “someone” inside who manipulates our ratiocinative processes has been reinforced by an implicit dualism within Western philosophy for over two thousand years.
What are the Benefits of Mindfulness?
The short answer is that the benefits of mindfulness are boundless.
Practicing Mindfulness benefits both mind and brain by allowing them to function in a more integrated, coherent, and healthy way. The practice helps us regulate our emotions and thoughts so we can respond to the world rather than react to it. We gain a greater capacity to live in the present moment, undisturbed by our past or future.
The benefits of mindfulness are not just for people who are struggling with stress reduction or mental health conditions. Practicing Mindfulness benefits everyone, even those individuals who consider themselves to be perfectly healthy and happy. Everyone can benefit from improved focus, concentration, memory, creativity, emotional balance, kindness towards others, and spiritual growth.
Mindfulness benefits every aspect of life by teaching us how to transform difficult experiences into sources of insight and growth. It benefits our minds with greater mental clarity, compassion, love, empathy, creativity, intuition, and acceptance. It benefits our bodies by helping them relax deeply so we can recover from stress or illness faster. It benefits our social lives by enriching relationships with more clarity, compassion, empathy, and acceptance.
Mindfulness benefits all areas of life…
Below are the benefits of mindfulness for physical health:
The benefits that result from regular mindfulness meditation practice are truly remarkable. Scientific research has shown that consistent mindfulness meditation benefits the body in almost every possible way.
- – decreases stress reduction
- – increases optimism and positive affect
- – boosts the immune system, making us less likely to catch colds or fall ill when exposed to viruses
- – benefits cardiovascular health by helping blood vessels relax so they can expand properly to accommodate blood flow through arteries
- – regulates metabolism, reducing stress hormones like cortisol that can cause weight gain, insulin resistance, and diabetes
- – benefits the respiratory system by reducing the stress that can cause chest pain or exacerbate existing lung diseases like asthma.
- – benefits the digestive system by reducing stress reduction in the gut
- – benefits the neurological system by boosting neuroplasticity to improve brain function, learning abilities, emotional regulation, memory recall, concentration
- – benefits the musculoskeletal system by reducing tension in our muscles and tendons so we can move with less pain, tension, and tightness
- – benefits the skin by boosting collagen production to improve elasticity and reduce wrinkles
- – benefits the reproductive system by increasing fertility potential, regulating menstrual cycles, improving libido, reducing PMS symptoms, easing sexual dysfunction
- – benefits the immune system and facilitates better sleep, which benefits hormone balance and reduces systemic inflammation.
Just as there are benefits for physical health, there are benefits for mental health:
Practicing Mindfulness benefits mental health by increasing optimism and positive affect. Optimism is a powerful antidote to depression because it helps us view challenging situations from multiple perspectives that lead to possible solutions.
Mindfulness benefits the brain by building mental muscle so we can improve attention span, focus, and concentration. We can also increase our ability for emotional regulation and insight because we’re better able to identify unhelpful thoughts and learn from difficult experiences.
Mindfulness benefits mental health by reducing stress, negative thoughts, and increasing resilience, which boosts self-esteem and builds our confidence in navigating challenging life circumstances.
Mindfulness benefits social health by making us more aware of others’ needs in daily life, increasing kindness towards others, deepening compassion for others, and building empathy that helps us create stronger connections with others while expanding our emotional intelligence.
Mindfulness benefits mental health by reducing depression, anxiety, and stress to improve overall happiness in our everyday life. It benefits our relationships by increasing honesty, trustworthiness, and faithfulness.
Mindful Awareness is the expansion of consciousness and this always begins with mindfulness!!
The benefits of mindfulness are countless, and the meaning is one that expands your awareness. Mindfulness has been shown to reduce depression and anxiety, lower blood pressure, improve memory retention, increase focus and concentration levels – the list goes on!
If you’re looking for a way to expand what’s possible in your life with increased clarity and presence then it might be time to start incorporating more mindfulness into your daily routine. Book a strategy session with me today so we can strategize how this could work best for YOU!
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