Mindfulness. A widely used word today but what it actually means? And how it impacts our lives?
Mindfulness is simply being with what is. Observing what is most outstanding for us at the moment. Becoming aware of ourselves one at a time. Mindfulness is noticing what is arising in ourselves at each moment. What thoughts, sensations, perceptions, and feelings are appearing in us at each moment without changing anything, trying to fix it, or trying to grasp it? Allowing whatever comes to our attention to be for as long as it needs to be until it changes, as nothing is permanent. Getting used to the change along the process of practicing mindfulness.
Mindfulness cultivates awareness which brings knowledge and experience into our lives. Through mindfulness, we can bring into our conscious mind aspects of us that are latent and have tremendous potential. The process of mindfulness is called in the Eastern traditions the Middle Way because it cultivates the stance of the observer who is not attached to the object of observation, so it does not suffer, there is no struggle. Bringing mindfulness into our lives has the potential to bring exactly that, the understanding of our own suffering and the resilience to embrace it. The practice of mindfulness brings ease into one’s life by bringing the experience to our own patterns of thoughts, feelings, and sensations. This alone has the power to make us more available and capable to face life and which will bring more joy and openness to the possibilities of everyday life.
The origins of this practice come from ancient contemplative traditions and have been introduced in modern sciences as well such as psychology, education, corporate settings, and more, as it has proven benefits on the holistic well-being of a person. The practice of mindfulness comes with one’s intention to focus on the experience of the present moment. Focusing on whatever is arising and is most outstanding at the moment, it can be a feeling, a sensation, a thought, a memory, and looking at it as it reveals, as it is, without attachment. As if you are only there to watch, to observe what is appearing to your attention. It can be practiced in any activity or non-activity we may be having and is mostly known in the form of the practice of meditation, where the focused practice is trained. Usually, this practice involves an initial focus on the breath or on the body sensations or any other object of awareness as it trains concentration which in time and with experience develops into the state of mindfulness – the stance of the observer.
Cultivating mindfulness can bring a sense of peace, calmness, ease, and compassion, and has been shown by modern research that reduces stress, anxiety, and depression, improves attention and focus, and enhances emotional regulation. It has the potential to bring a sense of belonging and openness to our lives and this reflects directly into our social life which is an essential component of our overall state of wellbeing.