Mindfulness and living fully in the present moment
“To stay present (mindful) in everyday life, it helps to be deeply rooted in yourself. Otherwise the mind (which has incredible momentum), will drag you along like a wild river. ” Eckhart Tolle
Pema Chodron writes “The process of stabilizing the mind makes you more aware of traits in yourself that you don’t like, whether it’s anger, jealousy, or a need to control. For many, your impulse is to turn away from these feelings and habits or try to shut them down or change them. But there is a way to stop this cycle of suffering. True freedom lies in becoming intimate with and befriending all parts of ourselves, especially those we find most difficult. “
“Monkey mind” is a term for the mind that is too busy, at times confused, jumping from place to place, being led off by any distraction or entertainment. Anything to avoid facing what is in front of you right now, particularly if it is unpleasant, scary, difficult or confusing.
What is Mindfulness
Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where you are and what you are doing, how you are feeling, thinking and what is happening in your body. It is also awareness of what is going on around you, what is happening with other people and other situations.
It means NOT getting too reactive or overwhelmed by what is going on around you. And most importantly, doing this with kindness and compassion – with yourself and with others.
Mindfulness is something you already possess naturally – it is just that you have become busy or distracted with life. You have the capacity to be present already, and this does not require you to change who you are. You can cultivate these innate qualities with simple practices. These have been scientifically demonstrated to benefit you in many ways.
While mindfulness is something you naturally possess, it is more readily available to you when you familiarise yourself with it (practice it) on a more regular basis. The more familiar you are with it, the more it becomes internalised and stable, something you can start to rely on, even in times of stress, confusion and overwhelm.
Whenever you bring awareness to what you are directly experiencing (via your senses), or to your state of mind (via your thoughts and emotions), you are being mindful. There is a huge body of growing research which shows that when you train yourself to be mindful, you are actually remodeling the physical structure of your brain. You create different neural pathways. Healthier neural pathway will make your life a lot easier in the long run.
The Benefits of Mindfulness and Using Mindfulness Practices
Many benefits have been scientifically proven to assist you when practicing minduflness. Here are some of them:
It helps you to contain your pain. Pain is a fact of life, but it doesn’t have to rule you. Mindfulness can help you reshape your relationship with mental and physical pain.
You connect better. Mindfulness helps you give your full attention to people when you are engaging with them. You can decrease your distraction or ‘blankness’ when around others.
You can reduce your stress levels. A lot of evidence shows that excess stress causes a lot of illnesses and worsens certain conditions. Mindfulness decreases stress.
You learn to focus your mind. And improve your memory. It is annoying when your mind strays off what you are doing and you are pulled in many directions. Mindfulness increases your innate ability to focus and think more clearly.