None of us need one more thing to be hard on ourselves about.
We are already keeping ourselves busy being sure we don’t look good enough, make enough money, have the right career or take good enough care of our families. The last thing we need is mindfulness to be something we are sure we are failing at too.
Here is the truth; the mind is a busy place. Often a very busy place.
This is just as true for people who have embraced the territory of mindfulness practice, as it is for people who don’t even know what the word mindfulness means.
This is the point.
The point of mindfulness is to recognize that the mind is a busy place.
Unfortunately, many people interpret the noticing of a busy mind to be the indicator that they are failing at mindfulness.
I would like to suggest here that it is the exact opposite.
When we notice that our minds are busy, this is actually the moment that we are mindful. It is when we notice where our attention is that we become mindful of what is happening in the moment.
Mindfulness is not being peaceful.
Mindfulness is not being happy.
Mindfulness is not even being nice.
Mindfulness is being aware of where our attention is.
Therefore, have a busy mind? No problem. Mindfulness is not only still available to you, you are actually being mindful all the time. Every time you are aware that your mind is busy is actually a mindful moment.
It is really important that mindfulness not be another place we stress about in our lives.
Instead mindfulness is an opportunity for relief. Just noticing where our attention is without judgement or opinion is a freedom available to all of us, if we choose to access it.
We can notice our thoughts about our bodies, finances, career and families, and see them as just that, thoughts.
Thoughts are not eternal truths. They are passing energies moving with the current through our systems. We can just notice them and let them keep moving without attaching any sense of self to them.
Does this make all the challenges of human life disappear? Of course not, but it certainly decreases the suffering for ourselves and everyone we come into contact with.
So, next time you notice you are thinking don’t judge yourself and say, “Oh, I’m no good at mindfulness because my mind is too busy.” Instead realize, “Oh, I am being mindful, I am noticing that my attention is on my busy mind.”
This type of objective noticing is what compassionate observation of self is all about.
Author: Ruth Lera
Editor: Travis May
Photo: Flickr/Rupa Panda