It’s a pretty straightforward word. It suggests that the mind is fully attending to what’s happening, to what you’re doing, to the space you’re moving through. That might seem trivial, except for the annoying fact that we so often veer from the matter at hand. Our mind takes flight, we lose touch with our body, and pretty soon we’re engrossed in obsessive thoughts about something that just happened or fretting about the future. And that makes us anxious.
Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.
Yet no matter how far we drift away, mindfulness is right there to snap us back to where we are and what we’re doing and feeling. If you want to know what mindfulness is, it’s best to try it for a while. Since it’s hard to nail down in words, you will find slight variations in the meaning in books, websites, audio, and video.
While mindfulness is innate, it can be cultivated through proven techniques, particularly seated, walking, standing, and moving meditation (it’s also possible lying down but often leads to sleep); short pauses we insert into everyday life; and merging meditation practice with other activities, such as yoga, tai chi, swimming, etc.
When we meditate it doesn’t help to fixate on the benefits, but rather to just do the practice. The benefits will follow…believe me.
Mindfulness is not a special added thing we do.
We already have the capacity to be present, and it doesn’t require us to change who we are. But we can cultivate these innate qualities with simple practices that are scientifically demonstrated to benefit ourselves and the ones surrounding us. It like the “Law of Attraction”: if your kind to yourself, kindness will meet you either from a friend, in work, from a stranger…
Anyone can do it.
When we think about meditating (with a capital M), we can get hung up on thinking about our thoughts: we’re going to do something about what’s happening in our heads. It’s as if these bodies we have are just inconvenient sacks for our brains to lug around. Having it all remain in your head, though, lacks a feeling of good old gravity.
Meditation begins and ends in the body.
It involves taking the time to pay attention to where we are and what’s going on, and that starts with being aware of our body; that very act can be calming, since our body has internal rhythms that help it relax if we give it a chance.
Check this post for a step-by-step guide and more info on how to meditate.
Also take a look into this video: