Mindfulness seems to be a current buzzword, and as I experienced in a conversation the other day, comes with it’s own stock “groomed” definition. With its obvious current popularity and acceptance and integration into the business world I am curious if this is an indicator of a more widely spread acceptance or embracement of Buddhism, or a real need for a way to reduce our stress levels.
Mindfulness doesn’t seem to be something that we can simply activate. It is being in a state of active, open attention in the present moment, and requires practice, but most importantly requires us to be non-judgmental. Mindfulness requires us to develop the ability to be observers of our lives, our responses, sensations and reactions. These observations are neither right nor wrong but only an awakening to our experience. It requires that we release the attachment to the narrative that we might be holding on to as our identity, whether it is the past or what we project to be the future. Living in the present moment can be a multi faceted aliveness with a solid sense of connectedness. As if arriving home after a long journey, we become acutely aware of what we have been missing and can experience a settling into ourselves.
Our stress levels can be significantly decreased with a practice of meditation that supports the ability to stay present to our experience. Although in some ways, this may sound blissful; don’t be fooled. The distractions that we live with daily, like the phone, TV, food, and activities, are strategies cloaked in the idea that they are necessary to keep us at the top of our game. But, when we peel these away we are left with ourselves, and that, could be scary.
I have been practicing mediation for over 15 years and I still find my mind taking me away from tasks and experiences and it is difficult not to judge myself as a result. Therein lies the key to mindfulness, I am distracted, to then stay with the distraction and what is behind it, brings me into the moment and present to my experience.
What has taken you away from your current experience? Can you stay with the possible discomfort of taking a deep breath and relaxing in this moment? These are two questions you can ask yourself throughout the day, and take that deep breath, on your journey to mindfulness.