“Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally.”~ Jon Kabat-Zinn.
This is one of those practices that, in it’s essence, appears ‘simple,’ yet in practicality is exceptionally difficult to actually begin practicing. Much less as a continuing practice or mode of engagement with one’s world. (Don’tcha ‘hate it’ when that happens! Ha.)
There are a number of parts to this above stated practice of Mindfulness:
First – the word itself. Mindfulness. Defined very simply as “the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something.” Period. Simple definition. One need not pose thumb-to-fingertip in a mundra gesture or the perfect yogi’s pose. One need not have read the newest-latest spiritual literature or attended weekend enlightenment workshops. One need simply be aware of what is right in front of themselves, right here – right now.
Second – Pay Attention. To ‘pay’ is to give something. Pay money. Pay the price. Pay the piper. In this case the ‘currency’ is Attention. To take notice of someone or something. Ceasing monkey-mind and multi-tasking to be still for a moment and truly see / hear / smell / taste/ feel something that is front-and-center. Right here – right now.
Third – On Purpose. On-purpose is about willingness. A choice. This sometimes happens first by default ~ like driving along and thinking about 25-minutes down the road and the meeting, the gathering with friends for a meal, the pile of laundry awaiting smelly-yet-patiently at home. Then suddenly becoming conscious of squealing brakes ~ glancing up ~ seeing taillights and break lights galore filling the vision ~ stomping on the brakes (heart pounding) ~ feeling the auto skewing a bit left or right. Maybe uttering please-please-please. Possibly adding a creative expletive-deleted. Whew. And a real “on purpose” focus right here – right now. It’s more fun when On Purpose is chosen ….. well ….. on purpose.
Fourth – In The Present Moment. Hmmmmm. Right here – right now. (See ‘Third’ above if there is a need for a refresher of what this phrase just might constitute. Heh heh!)
Fifth – Now for Non-Judgmentally. This is the toughie. To see / hear / smell / taste / touch, and simply observe the data. No initial opinions about good-bad, right-wrong, up-down, in-out. It’s the ultimate state of ‘Huh.’ Data collection right here and right now, with which to form opinions and conscious choices down the road.
Mindfulness ~ and the practice of all it’s pieces and parts ~ “ain’t for sissies.” This is such a tough place and mental practice to get a handle on especially because of OPOs (other people’s opinions), be they the news reporters and talking heads, the in-laws and outlaws, the commercials makers, the neighbors, the fact-spinners and/or conspiracy-theory creators. Sooooooooo many want your attention, your energy, your voice, your money, your actions on ‘their’ behalf. Now throw in your own life experiences (the past) and the family-of-origin actions (whether bruises or bounties … or both), and social shoulds-and-musts, it’s no wonder that …… (fill in the blank) is feeling and actually creating chaos.
Yup, there are things happening over which you have no immediate control. Still doesn’t mean right here – right now you cannot step back from the inundation. Take a breath. Make a choice.
And, no, buckaroo. No need to go join an ashram. Create your own: inside. Start with the Mind. Start with Mindfulness. There is amazement awaiting. Simple recognition of what matters to you, in all the many realms of your life. What works for you. Those ‘other’ outside things? Observe them, evaluate them, then choose emotional responses, verbal responses, actions (responses) which are inside your control. Right here – right now.