The word “mindfulness” can be found in every form of media – but do we really know its true meaning? I have always understood the word to mean “the act of being present and aware.” Others explain mindfulness as a sort of omnipotence, an ability to step away form your body and observe its reactions to a certain situation without judgement. Psychology Today talks about mindfulness in that way.
Today I found this video that explains mindfulness as a superpower – as something that we should all practice but not all of us have reached that level of understanding. Mindfulness is compared to jogging – years ago, a person who jogged was one who thought out of the box. Now jogging is commonplace and understood to be healthy.
Although many believe that mindfulness can only be truly found in meditation, I would only agree if the definition of meditation encompassed a lifestyle instead of an exercise. Meditation is described as a mind and body practice, dating back to the ancient Hindu teachings on Vedantism. Now, meditation is used as a relaxation technique by millions of adults.
What if we allowed mindfulness to expand beyond meditation? What if we considered mindfulness as “thoughtfulness,” as the act of looking beyond the physical form to the vibration, or energy, of the person or event? What if we taught ourselves to allow, instead of react?
Let’s say you are in line to buy groceries. You have stood there several minutes, thinking you would rather be anywhere but there, and you start to feel nervous – as if you want to leave the line and walk quickly back to your car. At that moment, someone steps in front of you, carrying just a few items. He turns and smiles, saying “you don’t mind if I cut in, do you? I only have a couple of things.”
Oh, I can almost feel your energy as you read! You are thinking, how rude of that person, to cut in front! Of course, you mind!
Your face starts to flush, and you feel indignation, anger, judgment, and possibly violation. You have waited all this time – how dare he step in front of you!
If you practice life mindfulness, you would react differently. The feelings that arose before the person stepped in front of you – the nervousness, the need for flight – would not be there at all. You would stand in line, aware of your surroundings, aware that you are exactly where you need to be at the moment. Your actions that landed you in this particular line, at this particular moment, are part of your own creation! In fact, you have intended it, and the universe is manifesting situations.
So then, the shopper cuts in line. But you are calm and happy in your present. You smile at the shopper, and say, “my pleasure.”
Is that too much for you to bear? Do you think you are being taken advantage of by the shopper?
What would change if you reacted to the shopper with anger? Would you feel justification, or more anger? Would he slink away with remorse, or would he return the anger with more anger?
Is it worth it? Will the extra minutes it takes to allow someone in line change your life?
These are questions you alone can answer – through mindfulness. Be aware of the present, and how your mind connects to your body. The energy you offer will attract like energy. You have no power over the thoughts and actions of another. But you do have the power to attract positive or negative energy to you through your own actions.
Perhaps Captain Mindfulness could be the new superhero – someone who does not react with anger or judgment, but instead finds peace within himself.
Try these mindfulness exercises today:
- If you are driving, intentionally slow down and allow someone into the lane in front of you. Do not expect a response from the driver – this is about you and your awareness, not about getting thanks.
- Pay attention to your body language when walking – are you confident and secure in your own shell? Make eye contact with a person who is walking the opposite way – smile and say hello.
- Take 5 minutes out of your day and close your eyes. Breathe deep. Do not think about all the work you need to do. Just allow your thoughts to drift away, and invite thoughts of loving kindness. Love who you are, and you can love others as they are in this moment.
photo by tiveryluckyof freedigitalphotos.com