Mindfulness is defined as "Paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally.”
So, what does this exactly mean? It means instead of allowing your mind to wonder, which it has a natural instinct to do – it means to practice being fully present, in the moment. The concept is that simple, the practice of it is not.
We tend to either think about the past, or jump into the future. We reminisce on past events and regrets, and we worry about potential future outcomes. Being fully present in the moment takes hard work and commitment. It takes will power and a strong determination to be fully committed in understanding the power of now.
Just like our hearts, our minds are constant moving, living beings. They work until we depart this realm. And then, they start working more once we go home. Our minds are the most powerful tool we have. It’s important to take care of them.
When we allow ourselves to be fully present in the moment, we block our minds from going to the places that start the negative spiral of thoughts. We do not allow ourselves to sit in past events that we wish to critique and analyze. We do not allow anxiety to build up about future events that have not even occurred yet. We are just in the now. We are fully present.
Mastering the art of mindfulness is not easy. Truthfully, I believe it to be the hardest practice one can pick up.
Let me put it this way: Our minds are insane, fast-paced, constantly moving hyper active monkeys on Ritalin. They do not stop, they do not sit, they do not rest. They are absolutely exhausting. Have you tried to calm down a hyper active monkey on Ritalin? How about an energetic 2 year old? They’ll calm down for a couple of minutes but then they are back to wreaking havoc.
Now imagine trying to tame this monkey every day for the rest of your life? Sounds pretty hard, yes? That’s because it is. Yet, the benefits of practicing mindfulness are far greater than allowing the Ritalin infused monkey run amuck.
It takes years of practice and commitment to be fully present in the moment. Even the most well-seasoned meditators still become lost in the train of thought at times. It is the discipline and kindness you give to yourself that allows you to simply come back to the moment.
Whenever and whatever it is, allow yourself to notice the behavior and to gently bring yourself back to the present moment.
Here are 3 simple practices you can do that will help you master the art of mindfulness and bring it into your everyday life!
1) SAVOR YOUR FOOD
A simple and effective way to practice mindfulness is by starting off at meal times. As you sip your morning coffee, feel the mug around your hands, smell the aroma as it hits your nostrils. Take your time and notice subtle notes of different flavors as you swallow. Pay attention to the experience – and don’t allow your mind to starting making your daily to-do list.
The same goes as lunch ad dinner. Chew your food. And I mean really CHEW your food. Here the crunch of the lettuce, taste the spices, the herbs, allow your meal time to be an experience and not just a means of nourishment.
You will quickly notice how easily your mind will wonder. How hard it is to stay in the present moment, being mindful of your actions. As I stated before, mastering mindfulness is not going to happen quickly. It’s a life long process that requires commitment. Be easy on yourself. Don’t get pissed when your mind wonders, because, trust me, it is going to.
2. GROUND YOURSELF
3. REINTRODUCE YOURSELF TO THE PRESENT.
Have any tips or exercises that you use that allows you to stay mindful and in the present moment? Share them in the comments!