According to Wikipedia, mindfulness is described as…
“… a mental practice involving the intentional focusing of one’s attention on the events and experiences unfolding in the present moment, without passing any judgment.”
In simpler terms, it refers to the deliberate act of being fully present and totally immersed in the here and now. It’s about being fully aware and attuned to what is happening right at this moment.
Unfortunately, a great many of us live our lives on autopilot. We float through life without paying much attention to our actions or experiences.
We spend countless hours with vacant expressions on our faces glued to screens, participating in aimless conversations, working in jobs we despise and doing anything possible to escape the reality of our lives.
The tragic aspect of this mode of living is its relentless speed. Before we’re even aware, hours morph into days, days turn into months, and months dissolve into years.
We find ourselves constantly reacting to life’s challenges, regretting past mistakes and fretting over future uncertainties, oblivious to the fact that at the end of the day, we have no dominion over past events or future outcomes. The one element of life we have some degree of control over is the present moment.
The famed Greek philosopher Socrates once professed that “the unexamined life is not worth living” and by this statement he meant that to authentically experience life, we must be completely conscious of our existence.
This, in essence, is mindfulness.
To scrutinise one’s life and become entirely conscious of one’s actions is one of the most effective ways to jolt oneself out of this autopilot mode of existence. By paying full attention to your experiences, moment by moment, you can elevate your life from merely existing to truly living.
With all that being said, you might be well wondering, “Where do I begin?”
Try this simple exercise… Close your eyes, take three deep breaths, and just be with yourself in stillness. Do nothing in particular, but begin to observe things like
- The ambient noises around you (the chirping of birds, the hum of traffic, and so on)
- The internal sounds within you (the rhythm of your breath, your heartbeat, and so on)
Take a moment to ground yourself and simply ‘be’ in the moment. Don’t assign yourself any tasks just grant yourself the gift of five minutes of deep breathing, observing, and simply being still. For that moment, just exist as a human ‘being’, not a human ‘doing.’
Once you’ve finished, reflect on your feelings. It’s likely you’ll feel a touch more tranquil than when you began the exercise.
You can repeat this exercise once, twice, or multiple times throughout your day. Grounding yourself in the now is your first step on the path of mindfulness.