Updated: Apr 14, 2020
Saying "mindfulness" is a more efficient way of saying "non-judgmental acknowledgement". Using mindfulness allows us to see the world around us with a clearer view while simultaneously being much better equipped to deal with hardship, apply ourselves, and cultivate a positive outlook.
Let's dive right in and try it briefly:
First, take some deep breaths and gently focus on the sensation of the air moving throughout your body. This is your baseline, and you may return your attention to your breathing if you begin to feel stressed, overwhelmed, or frustrated.
Now, you may be forcefully suppressing thoughts - actively trying to push them away to keep your mind clear. This gets tiring, doesn't it? Thoughts just want attention. So, slowly allow any wandering thoughts to come forward. If you're overwhelmed, try returning to your breath. Then, at whatever pace you feel comfortable with, pick one thought out from the rest. Focus on it. Hear it, but withhold judgement or reaction for the time being. Listen to the thought as if you are watching a fish at an aquarium. It swims to the forefront, you acknowledge it, and maybe look at it from a few different angles. And then you let it float away.
One by one these ideas, good and bad alike, are noticed, acknowledged, and let go without judgement. This is mindful meditation, and it is typically the easiest way to practice mindfulness.
It's a powerful tool when fully developed. A mindful person does the above subconsciously and constantly. They can notice when they are about to have an outburst of anger and mitigate the situation. They can appreciate their feelings from a third party point of view. After all, aren't we lucky to be able to feel? We can even appreciate the intense feelings of missing a loved one, as it means that we have cared deeply for another being. A mindful person uses this extremely helpful mental tool to acknowledge all thoughts and willfully select the thoughts that they like best, slowly developing the worldview that they desire.
The mind can evolve throughout our lives, and a mindful person takes ownership of what they think so that they may direct it to evolve in the fashion they want.
But don't be discouraged if that is overwhelming or sounds too difficult. That is the ideal final product of a lifetime of practicing the mindful mindset. Start with just 5 minutes of being mindful each day - notice your thoughts and the world around you, without judgement.
Just like with anything else: practice develops skill. Mindfulness is a way to practice molding your own worldview to be one of appreciation, acknowledgement, and contentment.
Written by Miles Holmes