A way of paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally. -Jon Kabat-Zinn
Exercise for the brain that helps prevent the voice in your head from leading you around by the nose. -Dan Harris
Our world can be a hectic, stressful and frequently troubling place. We can find ourselves trying to grapple with emotionally difficult situations alone, sometimes falling into a pattern of avoiding what feels painful, compounding our sadness and depression. You are not alone. It is only human to avoid or reject what feels unpleasant or uncomfortable and cling to ideas of happiness that are largely material in nature. This mindset is all too common, creating an endless path of feeling dissatisfied and disenchanted with life in the present. As a result, we fail to feel the real joys of in the present moment. We become reactive and irritable, our relationships suffer, and we exist in a state of unawareness of our own lives.
The concept of mindfulness is new and evolving in our western culture, but mindfulness has been used in Eastern meditative practices for centuries. In recent years, mindfulness has taken hold, and the powerful benefits of this practice have been studied and scientifically established. Modern descriptions include the idea that mindfulness is an intentional awareness of life in the present moment. It is practicing aliveness with your eyes wide open.
The benefits of mindfulness include:
- Feeling a greater sense of peace and calmness when stressful events are unfolding around you.
- Being more in tune with all of your emotional states.
- Feeling more in control of emotions vs. emotions controlling you.
- Increased satisfaction with the everyday tasks of living.
- A deeper, more meaningful relationship with your life.
- Increased acceptance and compassion for yourself and others.
Mindfulness is not a dogma or religious doctrine. It is a philosophy for life. Life is often hard, and mindfulness takes effort. Just as we must practice and work at developing our physical muscles, mindfulness takes time and practice to develop our mental muscles. Ultimately, practicing mindfulness provides a pathway to happiness and fulfillment by enabling us to become more accepting of life as it is.