Mindfulness is receiving a lot of attention lately. From scientific studies to mainstream media, people are talking about how to do it and the benefits derived from its practice, but what does MINDFULNESS actually mean?
It's pretty simple: mindfulness means paying attention to the present moment without judgment, and with a willingness to be with what is. It's a skill that we can cultivate to observe what's happening right now in order to manage our thoughts, and a way of being in the world that encourages discernment, curiosity and insight.
Why is this important? Because these days, we live in a world of partial attention, constantly being pulled in many different directions. We are often thinking about the future or the past, and completely bypass our present moment experiences. The stresses of family, work and social obligations frequently run into each other. A growing connectivity to technology and social media means that we have jobs and lifestyles where we're expected to be immediately available to answer an email, tweet an experience or text a response. With everything going on around us, it's hard to find headspace to focus on RIGHT NOW. We are seemingly always rushing through life, just trying to get to the next thing on our to-do list. When was the last time you found yourself able to focus on just one task, one thought, one experience? If you can't remember, you're not alone. This is what's it's like to be a 21st century human in much of the world today.
Here is where mindfulness comes in. As one of the oldest and most practical skills known to mankind, mindfulness teaches us how to appreciate our lives and focus on the present amidst all the distractions that life throws our way. As a practice that comes to us from a variety of contemplative traditions throughout history, mindful awareness invites us to connect to our inner experience. Instead of reacting in a habitual way, mindfulness allows us to respond to our lives with skillfulness and insight. By showing us how to pause and truly understand what's happening moment to moment, we can learn to be less stressed and more engaged and at ease. The best part? You can practice any time, anywhere. Mindfulness can be trained systematically, and can be implemented in daily life by people of any age, profession or background.
Interested? Read on to learn about the benefits of mindfulness and more in the FAQs.