Someone recently asked me about mindfulness and how I would define it. Here is a definition I liked from Mindful Living’s website:
“Mindfulness is the awareness that arises when you bring open-hearted, non-judgmental awareness to your experience. Mindfulness practice includes mindfulness meditation, also known as insight or vipassana meditation, and the cultivation of open-hearted awareness of one’s present-moment experience. The principles of mindfulness are fundamental to many traditional meditative practices and are non-sectarian in nature.”
This week I have been practicing mindfulness during a few of my daily activities such as eating and driving. In the process, I have discovered that I have developed some little habits that prevent me from being in the moment.
Here are a few of the barriers that I’ve noticed:
- I often feel rushed and am thinking about the next thing I need to get done.
- I try to focus on too many big things instead of focusing on what is in front of me in the moment. (My friends tell me that is why I sometimes fall when I am running – because I start looking all around or get so caught up in a conversation that I forget to keep an eye out for potholes in the road).
- I try to do several things at once, like reading and/or watching television while eating, often leaving me unsatisfied and unable to remember what I just did or ate.
- I get so caught up watching what everyone else is doing I don’t pay attention to what’s going on with me.
- I hyper focus on some external source of discomfort, such as the temperature of the room, where I am sitting, or pants that feel too tight.
- I resist instead of just noticing memories that may be triggered from the sites, sounds, smells, or tastes that I am attempting to focus on.
- I become obsessive instead of mindful.
- I don’t practice in small increments. I am not at the point of being mindful in all my waking moments. Practicing a few seconds of mindfulness during various parts of the day is a good start.
This week I have made progress in small increments and am feeling a little more calm and peaceful.