Mindfulness teaches us to pay close attention to what is happening right here, right now, in this present moment, with an attitude of kindness towards ourselves and our experience. It is a way of being fully present and awake in every moment; a way of relating to all of life as it unfolds.
During much of our lives, we are so caught up with worries and planning for the future, with memories of the past and fantasies and daydreams that we can often fail to notice our lives as we’re living them, right now. How often do we find ourselves doing things but thinking about something else entirely? Eating but not noticing the taste of the food as our minds are elsewhere? Driving to a destination and noticing when we get there that we have no memory of the journey whatsoever? This mode of being is often called “auto –pilot” and describes the state of being distracted from what is actually happening at this moment and instead being otherwise preoccupied. This constant preoccupation with thoughts of the past and plans for the future can have a profound impact on our physical, mental and emotional health and well-being.
Greater clarity in our lives
As we practice and cultivate our capacity to be more aware and mindful of our moments as we are living them, we can begin to see ourselves and our lives with greater clarity. We can become less caught up in these habitual states of mind and in being reactive and instead open to the possibility of responding to situations in our life in more skilful, creative and productive ways, even when facing challenging circumstances.
Mindfulness can support us in taking time out from our usual “busyness” and in creating some space and stillness for ourselves. Developing the skills of mindfulness can help us to take charge of the quality of our lives and assist us in dealing with the ever increasing demands, pressure and pace of modern life.
Have a look at Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn of the University of Massachusetts Medical Center speaking about Mindfulness: