One of the best ways to describe mindfulness is by contrasting it with when we are least mindful – like eating chips on the couch surfing channels on the remote, or driving on your daily commute and arriving at work not noticing anything on the way.
Mindfulness is choosing to step outside the ongoing narrative of your daily experience and instead seeing each unfolding moment as curiously unique, unattached and worthy of deep gratitude.
Mindfulness is meeting the next moment as just the next moment – separating the moment from the story so that it is neither good nor bad, to the point that you meet it with a sense of equanimity – a balanced acceptance that events are just events – only our thinking lends them a story or a value judgement.
Mindfulness is about suspending that value judgement. Mindfulness flies directly in the face of the oft repeated “Everyone’s entitled to an opinion” – and instead we pause and reserve our judgement, we restrain ourselves from comparing our current experience to that of others or our previous times – everything is what it is and by not adding colours of perception we take a lot of the distraction and emotion out of the process.
Mindfulness is being able to disentangle our lived experience from what many of us tend to call our life story. What is happening now is no more connected or disconnected, or our responsibility or someone else’s fault than it could or should be. It is just as it is. In this sense Mindfulness encourages a deep measure of self acceptance and patience – we are not meant to be doing something else or being somewhere else any more than the person over there is meant to be here.
Mindfulness everyday begins with what I like to call micro-moments of mindfulness. Being able to step back from whatever moment you are participating in and seeing outside the lens you have applied – so you can see the beauty of the clouds whilst you are waiting at the traffic lights, or you can sense the smoothness of the dentists chair whilst she drills your teeth. Being able to choose to go deeper into your experience or move away and step further outside of you experience is a skill you learn as you become more mindful.
Jon Kabat-Zinn’s Mindfulness Meditation for Everyday Life is a 279 page FREE ebook worth reading.
Mindfulness in Plain English is a 105 page FREE guide for your enjoyment.