We’ve all heard of mindfulness and how it can help us to live happier, healthier, and more fulfilled lives. But it’s sometimes difficult to be really clear about exactly what it means.
That’s partly because different people are using “mindfulness” to mean subtly different things. Let’s look at what mindfulness is… and what it isn’t.
In its simplest form, mindfulness is being entirely in the present and aware of your own experience. You are bringing all of your awareness away from your plans for the future or memories of the past and living the current moment absolutely.
This sounds easy but it can be surprisingly challenging, especially if you’re not used to it.
Often, the first step into mindfulness involves paying more attention to your body. You might focus on your breathing or try to notice all your physical sensations as you experience the world around you.
Our modern focus on mindfulness originates in a huge variety of different cultural, medical, and spiritual practices from around the world. The common factor in almost all of these practices was mindfulness.
Modern mindfulness, especially the kind advocated by therapists and mental health professionals, goes slightly beyond simple awareness of the current moment. We are encouraged to adopt a loving and compassionate mindset in our practice.
This means attempting to be non-judgemental and compassionate towards ourselves. Specifically, we’re not trying to change ourselves. We simply want to become more aware.
We learn to know, accept, and love ourselves entirely as we are.
No lesson can be more powerful than that.