What Is Mindfulness?
What is the present moment? Why does it matter? What can it do for me? These are questions that typically come up when first learning about the practice of mindfulness. The truth is, we live in the present moment our entire lives, but we are seldom aware of it. Every moment is unique and contains infinite potential. Think about that statement, as it is profound. We don’t have the past anymore, that is gone. We also don’t have the future, as that is just a fantasy, and always set in motion. The only real moment we have is right now. Right now is always changing from moment to moment, of course, but it’s where we really exist.The sad part of human existence is that most of us never become aware that we live in this present moment. We are always thinking about the past or future. We may be excited about leaving work at 6PM to go to a bar with friends, or get home to see our families and relax. We might be excited about a vacation, so much that our minds are totally focused on it and not on where we are. We also might be stuck in the past, thinking, “what if I only did…” etc… These thoughts rob us of our true existence and make the practice of mindfulness and present moment awareness a foreign concept.The practice is very simple though. All we need to do is learn to quiet our minds, and become aware of our thoughts. Our thoughts imprison us, and becoming mindful sets us free. All possibility in the universe condenses on our present moment perceptions. Why not be in a place where we can truly take advantage of the magic that the universe offers us?Becoming present involves nothing more than sitting and observing your thoughts. Our minds are currently racing, and our bodies are often stiff. It helps to start with some good relaxation techniques to calm your body, and in effect, your mind. From there, it becomes easier to observe your thoughts from a place of peace and awareness. Relaxation can calm your mind and alleviate anxiety, and can work wonders if you want to stop panic attacks.
The path is long and often difficult, but I can’t think of a path more important to take in life. I hope this serves as a good starting point in your journey in mindfulness.