If you’re reading this, the likelihood is you know what mindfulness is. For those unfamiliar, mindfulness is defined somewhat differently depending who you ask, but it always refers to something like:
“Mindfulness: Paying attention in an open and nonjudgmental way to the present moment.”
It’s intentional, not accidental. To be fully alive to the present moment is to decide to be.
It’s open. A type of awareness in which you openly allow thoughts, feelings, and sensations to come into your “field of awareness”. It’s not a vein-popping concentration, but a soft focus typically on an object such as one’s breath or steps (used as an “anchor” to more reliably stay rooted in the present moment).
It’s nonjudgmental. The idea isn’t to then think critically about the things that arise (even if you consider them “bad”, or they hurt). There is no intentional thinking in mindfulness (only the thoughts that arise naturally). The idea is simply to be fully present for this moment as it unfolds naturally because clarity is the best cure (your presence is enough).
The thing you begin to notice after a while of practicing mindfulness, both sitting in meditation and living with mindfulness in your everyday life, is that it’s more than just a meditation practice, it’s a very way of life. A very effective approach to life’s major challenges as a whole.
Mindfulness is about more than just paying attention in an open and nonjudgmental way to the present moment (or reality, present moment events), it’s about waking up, or becoming more “conscious”. It’s really about living more fully.
To live mindfully is to hold your life with the greatest level of appreciation and importance possible. You’re aware that you won’t live forever and have begun to become aware of just how beautiful and amazing life can be, and you do your best to appreciate every moment and make the most of your life.
And in that effort includes everything. Particularly, efforts which will allow us to enjoy the beauty and peace of the present moment more and which will allow us to more skillfully handle the challenges and difficulties we face in everyday life such as living in the past, worrying about the future, not forgiving ourselves, holding in resentment and anger, living with fear, etc.
This is mindful living, and it’s living with the spirit of mindfulness throughout your everyday life.
It’s taking that intentional and single-pointed action, open acceptance, and compassionate and clear awareness to everything that you do. And you’ll see that if you work on applying this in each area of your life, one small step at a time, when you turn back around, you’ve created no less than a transformation.
So, how exactly can you transform your life, one step at a time, by applying the spirit of mindfulness to your everyday activities? Let’s take a look…