“Mindfulness is the energy of being aware and awake to the present moment. It is the continuous practice of touching life deeply in every moment of daily life. To be mindful is to be truly alive, present and at one with those around you and with what you are doing. We bring our body and mind into harmony while we wash the dishes, drive the car or take our morning shower.” ~ Plum Village
Have you ever stopped and considered how much life you miss out on by not being present in the moment?
I was blown away when I came to see how much time I spent in my head, living in every other moment but the present. I began practicing mindfulness meditation a few years back, and it was the simple most empowering act I’ve ever done.
Bringing a mindfulness practice into my life has allowed me to be the driver of my reality. It has allowed me to discard old beliefs—the ones that no longer serve who I am today—so I could grow as a person. It has allowed me to choose what and who gets to be in my life, and what I want my life to look like.
We spend years living half-asleep. Decisions are made for us, we watch what’s on TV without really seeing it, and information is put into us via education, advertising and society. Then we wonder why we are discontent and unhappy. It’s because we’re missing the point of life—which is the present! The opposite of mindfulness is forgetfulness.
As the master Thich Nhât Hańh says:
“Most people are forgetful; they are not really there a lot of the time. Their mind is caught in their worries, their fears, their anger, and their regrets, and they are not mindful of being there. That state of being is called forgetfulness—you are there but you are not there. You are caught in the past or in the future. You are not there in the present moment, living your life deeply. That is forgetfulness.”
So if you’re really looking to shift gears this year, and to empower and take control of your reality, then try bringing mindfulness into these areas of your life and see what happens.
- Your mental chatter and inner monologue.
It is absolutely insane how much of our inner monologue flies under the conscious radar. Think about it like this: our inner narrative paints our reality. It steers our perception and how we see the world. It whispers to us as we quietly form opinions about who we are and what we think of everything and everyone, including ourselves. So ask yourself why aren’t you paying more attention to what is being said in there? When we start noticing with mindful intention what exactly we are saying to ourselves, it’s pretty mind-blowing. I was amazed myself at how negative my inner chatter was under the radar. When I started looking at the tone of my thoughts I found an underlaying defeatist bitterness that was flavoring my reality.
- What you consume.
This one isn’t just about what we eat. What we consume can be anything that we take in—food, drinks, information, air and energy. If we are constantly consuming toxic stuff, we are going to be toxic. It’s inevitable. We are what we eat. Well, we also are what we consume on any level, so start noticing how much fear you are subconsciously consuming by having the TV playing the news in the background. Start noticing what is in the food you’re eating. Be mindful of who is around you and what energies you may be unconsciously taking in. When we are unconscious in our day to day life, we end up full of all kinds of crap—and we don’t even know how it all got there! When we begin to become present in the moment, we start to notice what’s occurring around us, and this can be one of the most powerful elements to cutting back on the low vibrations that surround us.
- Your time.
I recently came back from vacation, and I didn’t go online for the whole nine days I was away except to handle some bookings and arrangements. No social media of any type. I didn’t even read the news. I was blown away at how many hours there seemed to be in each day when I wasn’t losing five or ten minutes here and there to social media. I read four books that I’ve been waiting to read. The internet is a funnel and if we aren’t very careful, before we know it we aren’t living a life. We’re existing. And we keep saying, “I’ll do that tomorrow.” There is nothing that is so important happening on social media that justifies us neglecting the life that is playing out in front of us. There is nothing more valuable than time, so ask yourself: where does all yours go each day?
- Your mindfulness.
Really though. Sometimes we think we are practicing mindfulness and then we discover we are still very unconscious in each moment. That’s the thing: mindfulness is a practice. We don’t just get to say, “I’ll be more mindful of that,” and then poof, we’re mindfulness ninjas. We have to work at it. Being mindful means having discipline to redirect out thoughts when they want to be negative. It means we can’t keep lazily making excuses about our behavior. We’ve become very lazy as a whole, and our minds are used to running rampant wherever they want to go. So much like a spoiled child, the mind will resist when we start trying to discipline it.
So remember, mindfulness is a practice. There’s no mastering mindfulness. It’s something for us to add to our daily living that will constantly show us exactly where we are at on our journey. And that’s okay—we don’t have to be perfect. Mindfulness meditation brings us to the moment so we can really start living life.
Try bringing yourself to the moment over the course of the next few days. Keep it really simple. If you’re walking look around and say, “I am walking. Look at the beautiful sky and the trees.” Feel the ground beneath your feet and acknowledge how it supports you. If you’re eating, acknowledge this fact and what you are taking in. Really taste it.
Starting with these small, simple practices is the perfect way to show us how much of our day is lost to unconscious and robotic tasking, while our mind is off somewhere else.
Give it a try…what have you got to lose?
I would love to hear your experiences in the comments below!
Author: Lindsay Carricarte
Editor: Yoli Ramazzina