What is Mindfulness?

Let’s see. Let’s see. Let’s see. What is mindfulness? What does it mean to be mindful?

First off – mindfulness is a practice. One reason for meditation is build one’s ability to be mindful. I would say meditation is purposeful action/concentration on something in the present moment. Being mindful or mindfulness is the practice of being aware of what is happening in the present moment.

You may not be with purposeful action, but you are with present awareness. It feels like quite a minor distinction and I think that is true. As I sat here trying to define mindfulness it was difficult to make that distinction between meditation and mindfulness.

I’ll allow a greater writer than myself to help with further explanation.
Diana Winston wrote a very insightful book on mindfulness and meditation called “The Little Book of Being.” Here is an excerpt from page 49:

“My mind tends to worry, and I have to check that quite a bit. I’m pretty normal, I have to say. The difference is simply this: I have reliably effective tools for pulling me away from the reactivity and emotional distress and into a place of ease. I have no doubt in my mind’s capacity to find freedom, even if it takes a little time. And more deeply, I feel like I live with an underlying sense of abiding well-being and trust in my own goodness, which is present even when I blow it, or get anxious or lose it.”

I can relate to her sentiments here quite a bit. I hope this helps in your understanding 🙂

Why be Mindful?

There can be no deliberate change in one’s self without awareness, without mindfulness. We cannot hold true to our values without acting mindfully in everything that we do. We cannot fully be available for our loved ones without having present awareness when being with them.

When we are not mindful, we are not aware, we are less familiar with ourselves, we know much less why we act or do what we do, we know much less why we feel how we feel. And more often than not, we do not know what we feel at all until a considerable amount of mindfulness practice is pursued.

There is a gap between Stimulus and Response.

Stimulus → GAP → Response

In this GAP is where all of us have absolute freedom. Viktor Frankle said in his book “A Man’s Search for Meaning” that all people have a freedom of choice in this GAP if we make ourselves resilient enough to use it. We cannot always choose what happens to us (Stimulus). We often times find ourselves in instinctual or pattern based reactions (Response). But with a strong skill of mindfulness we can free ourselves of thoughtless “reactions” and choose purposeful “responses”.

Let’s Do It 🙂

This is something you will see frequently throughout posts and meditations and practices and speaking with me. We are trying to instill in ourselves the habit of becoming our best-selves. We are human, that means we will never be perfect. It means we must always give continuous practice and constant effort. As, the psychiatrist and author of “The Tools”, Phil Stutz says we will never be exonerated from the difficulties of life as long as we are alive.

So let’s do it. Let’s continuously put this next technique into practice. Learning how to access that GAP between Stimulus and Response.  😀

  1. Notice with Compassion <3  (After the Stimulus)
  2. Take on an Open Posture ➔ Superman Pose ➔ Open your chest, stand tall, hands on your hip
  3. Breathe Deep – maybe once, twice, or five times until you feel present with your breath.
  4. Listen to your Insightful-self (best-self).
  5. Take a micro-action listening to that inner-wisdom.  (Response)
  6. Act Now. Act with Prudence.

Featured photo by Hans Vivek

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