August 19, 2014

4 Other Words for Mindfulness. ~ Ruth Lera

Nina/Flickr Creative Commons

Words at times can seem inadequate at their job.

Words are here to help us share information, get our point across or tell people how we’re feeling or what we need. And most of the time they do just that. But when it comes to describing experience I often find words fall short.

Experience is so elusive and personal and words are so communal and universal..it’s no wonder we often feel misunderstood.

Mindfulness is just a word, a word to describe a way to experience a moment. But sometimes certain words don’t work for their intended purpose and we need to find another way in to the experience we are seeking.

Here are four offerings of other words for mindfulness that may help.

1. Noticing

How often do we not even notice where we are? Or what we’re doing? We’re driving but we’re thinking about tomorrow. We’re walking but we’re thinking about yesterday. Just noticing where we are and what we’re doing is at the heart of mindfulness and can have powerful repercussions in our lives.

2. Welcoming

A lot of the time we push away our experiences. We think I don’t want to feel this right now or I don’t want to think this right now or even I don’t want to be myself right now. The good news is we don’t need to stop feeling or thinking anything to be mindful. Everything can be welcomed instead.

I’m stopped at a red light, welcome. I hate being stopped at a red light, welcome. Being stopped at a red light reminds me of a bad experience from my past, welcome, too.

Welcoming everything changes our life from a battleground to an experiential place where we have the freedom to allow everything. Especially the things we might for some reason think shouldn’t be so welcome.

3. Pausing

Often we think we need to urgently be thinking about something or getting something done or rushing somewhere. However, almost any situation can benefit from pausing even if it’s just for a couple of seconds. Pressing the pause button on the frantic thoughts and the rushing around interrupts the frenetic energy and can bring sanity to everything and anything. Seems too hard to practice mindfulness during your day? Maybe just try a few pauses instead.

4. Awareness

What are you aware of right now? Ask yourself this. My answer right now is that I’m aware of the plastic feeling of the keys on the keyboard and the sound of a kettle about to boil. Again, if sitting down for meditation practice seems like too much, then just use this question a few times a day. What am I aware of right now?

There are so many paths to get to the same place (not that there is really a place to go). So, mix it up, use new words. Try different techniques. Because words only become meaningful when they are turned into experience.


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Editor: Renée Picard

Photo: Nina at Flickr 


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