What is mindfulness? Mindfulness is a state of both mind and body being present in the moment. It is a mental state where in you aware of what is happening around and yet finding peace and solace because you calmly resonate with the moment. Mindfulness is the state of being in the here and now. Thus it allows peace and tranquility in your heart and soul.
Buddha has taught us to experience each moment through mindfulness. The seventh path of The 8 Fold Path is the Right Mindfulness or Samma Sati. It teaches being Aware of the things that happen around you and within you. True mindfulness meaning understanding your thoughts and feelings and the things that happen to you but NOT CLINGING ON THEM.
Mindfulness can be viewed as being present in every moment of time. It means being one with the now, and not being lost in the past or hungering for the future.
Mindfulness can also be viewed through mindfulness meditation. Mindfulness meditation is not just meditating without any thoughts and eliminating everything that goes in, but rather it is allowing the mind to experience what it sees with no judgment or contempt.
However mindfulness goes way beyond meditation and sitting down in the lotus pose. It is a daily practice of being kind to your self and other and not passing judgment to anything or anyone. Mindfulness. Mindfulness is a practice that involves concentration, sensory clarity and equanimity.
Concentration is the essence of mindfulness. It is being able to focus and not let your thoughts wander about. It is said that human minds wander 47% of the time. This means that we are unable to fully experience life because half of the time our minds wander and we are lost in a different thought rather than concentrating on the moment
2. Sensory Clarity
Sensory clarity is being able to feel each and every sensation and live in that moment to it’s full extent. This is in essence means what it is to be truly alive. It is embracing pain, fear, joy, hotness and coldness and appreciating this feelings. It is seeing the clouds in the sky and noticing the patterns they make. It is sitting in your desk and being fully engaged in a task.
Sensory clarity is basically allowing your mind and body to be one. It is allowing your body to feed your mind and soul. But instead of hating or craving a feeling, you just allow it to happen. This leads us to equanamity.
Equanamity is the ability to experience life without the constant need to push or pull. It means to take in everything and understand it rather than be just influenced by it. It is when you feel no fear in the face of pain, because pain is but natural. It is when you do not hold on to joy or life, for these things are fleeting.
All these three factors are important in order to achieve mindfulness. A person to be truly be mindful has to be focused with concentration on the moment, be able to sense things around him and within him through his mind and senses and be able to experience life as it happens with the need to constantly push and pull things to one’s self.
Mindfulness should be practiced right when we open our eyes to the point we drift into sleep. Some are even able to go into high levels of mindfulness that they can even be present in their dreams such having lucid dreams.
However being mindful all the time can be difficult and challenging. Being kind and good in every moment can be hard. And so that is mindful meditation is needed. Through meditation and mindful meditation, we can find tranquility and live a mindful life.
There are four postures in which we can meditate.
- Standing and
- Lying down.
Most people see sitting as the normal form of meditation, however walking can be very beneficial specially for mindfulness practice. This is because as you walk, you can tune into the things around you and marvel at every step that you take.
Standing meditation can be done to promote energy and restore balance in the body and is good for those who cannot sit still. Lying down meditation is good for calming anxiety and promoting sleep. This can also be done before sleeping.
Benefits of Mindfulness
Mindfulness has truly made a leap in the healing arts. Psychologists has seen it as a means to relieve stress, insomnia, pain, PTSD and other emotional problems. It is also said that mindful meditation promotes the growth of neurons in the brain.
1. Finding Peace
The most important reason for mindfulness is to find peace. It is said by the Buddha that life is full of suffering (Dukkha). He also said that we suffer because of our desires. Pleasure is fleeting and wanting more pleasure is a state that the untrained human mind normally does.
But mindfulness eases that. By mindfulness, we appreciate life and thus find peace. When we are mindful we take charge of our feelings and thoughts and desires. We find out why we feel a certain way. This understanding allows us to live more virtuously. We do not live in virtue because we are told to do so, but because we experience that doing so brings about peace. This is something we realize through mindfulness.
2. Appreciating Life
Have you ever felt like a rat running on a wheel? Have you ever thought that you are forced to go through life by waking, working and then sleeping; in an endless pattern just to die one day? Well you are not alone.
Our society has fed us the notion that we can only be happy if we get to point B when now we are at point A. But when we get there, there is another goal and another and another. The constant wanting and needing of something in the future causes us to suffer. We cannot even appreciate that we wake in the morning, but rather gulp tons of coffee, hoping to survive the day.
In mindfulness, you learn that the present time is the best time to be alive. You don’t need to wait for tomorrow to appreciate life and be happy, because now is the time to be happy.
3. Removing the Fear of Death
Many people struggle through life because they fear death. They fear losing things which will eventually hurt them and would cause them pain or even death. Through mindfulness, we learn to experience pain and endure it. We learn that joy is fleeting and enjoy it for the moment that it comes. When are mindful, we understand that there is nothing permanent in this life. Everything changes and thus we need to learn to let go.
When you let go, you become resilient to pain for you hold no attachments. You become liberated from the constant struggle of desiring not to die. We can face death and not be afraid.
4. Mindfulness Teaches Us Kindness
One of the most important teachings of the Buddha is compassion. Compassion promotes peace. Buddha has said that we need to be compassionate to ourselves and to others. Mindfulness gives us the perspective of realities of life. We can empathize with others and thus be more understanding.
Mindfulness allows us to sense the feelings of sentient beings around us. We can feel the joy of the birds singing, the cries of a hungry dog and the sad face of injured cat. We can help the homeless for we feel their suffering.
5. A Sense of Fulfillment
Being mindful allows us to be contented. We as humans constantly desire things. We have an insatiable hunger to own and possess things and people. We crave wealth, love, honor, pride and beauty. But our constant wanting leads us to present in the past or future but never in the present. We think that if we attain wealth we will become happy, but this is not true.
By being mindful, we can see that life is already beautiful now and we need to embrace it. We need to strive to do good but not be lost in the future.
In order to be mindful, we need to live life each day with the intent to be present in every given moment. We need to tell ourselves that we want to be HERE.
So when you wake up, give yourself a few minutes to meditate. Allow you mind to find peace. Meditate when you are standing in the train and tell yourself that you are HERE. Tell yourself that you want to be kind to yourself and to others. Mindfulness is not only being focused in the hear and now, it is also being kind and patient in the hear and the now. It is experiencing life and filling it with goodness.