Why mindfulness?

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What we think, we become

The Buddha

Mindfulness is defined as nonjudgmental awareness, but what does this mean?

It’s the ability to be aware without the instinctive need to attach our opinion or feeling to the experience. Its developing the skill to become an impartial observer of our thoughts, senses, and experiences.

Here are six reasons why mindfulness is important.

1. To change. The Holy Grail of all personal development blogs, books, and courses is the ability to change ourselves. So many of us seek to become happier, healthier and wealthier, yet even the smallest change is elusive and remains just beyond our grasp. In contrast, change is not an objective of mindfulness, indeed a core principle of mindfulness is to stop our incessant striving. We are always running after one thing or running away from another. Paradoxically, when we stop striving and find stillness, metamorphosis begins.

2. To learn to live with ourselves. Do you live with an underlying dissatisfaction of your life, a sense that if only a few things could change then it would be much happier and more fulfilling? This sense of dissatisfaction is real, it has a bitter taste, it sits heavily on our stomach. It can weigh us down even when there is no apparent cause. In developing mindfulness we learn acceptance, gratitude and compassion. These three gifts dissolve dissatisfaction and can bring joy.

3. To heal our wounds. As we go through life we pick up physical and emotional knocks and bruises. The truth is that few of us make it far through life without experiencing pain and hurt. These experiences stay with us, we keep them in our scrapbook of slights and injustices. Emotional pain can often be felt as acutely years after the event as it was felt at the time. Mindfulness is a tool for dealing with suffering. It’s a poultice that we can apply to a physical or emotional wound. It allows us to experience it as it is, and by bringing our attention to pain we softens its intensity and create the conditions for healing to occur.

4. To deal with distractions, habits & addictions. The smartphone in our pocket is a means of instant communication and information, but it can also be a source of constant distraction. When we repeat distractions we form habits, and habits that are out of control become addictions. The fight for our online attention is now a trillion dollar business. It’s no wonder that every form of psychological trick is used to hook and hold our attention. What is more scary is that we are unaware of the traps that are set for us. Mindfulness can bring us to a place of stillness, a respite from the constant distraction of our modern, technical world.

5. To discover who we are. In many ways who we are is hidden from us. We can look out but rarely do we look back in at ourselves. We can describe in detail our friend’s personalities and their endearing and annoying quirks, but can we describe our own? It is remarkable that the person we know least about is often ourselves. By becoming an impartial observer of our thoughts, words, actions and feelings we begin to get glimpses of our true self. Not who we think we are, but who we truly are.

6. To live another life. There is another life out there waiting for us. It’s much simpler and involves a lot less doing. It requires us to find moments of stillness throughout the day. It means learning to just be and this is much more difficult than we can possibly imagine. For thousands of years the way to this alternative life is to simply wake up. Mindfulness helps to open our eyes to a richer, peaceful and more fulfilling life.

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Why mindfulness?

10 thoughts on “Why mindfulness?

  1. Thanks for this great reminder of the value of mindfulness. I couldnt agree more, but of course practise is the thing isn’t it, and that is harder than “agreeing”. Then again the practise of mindfulness and meditation has been invaluable to me. Best wishes, Chris.

  2. Helpful to see those benefits of Mindfulness fleshed out in straightforward detail. It’s constantly ‘on my mind’ to be still more often – and slowly but surely I’m making it a habit to devote at least 20 minutes a day to that nonjudgmental awareness.

    Just listened to this book in its audio version again: https://www.ted.com/read/ted-books/ted-books-library/the-art-of-stillness

    My second time listening to it and I’m sure it will be a regular habit to play this one every now and again – its nice and short too, so there’s more time to be still 🙂

  3. Thanks so much for this link. I’m really looking forward to listening to it. Yes, there are so many dimensions to Mindfulness. Stillness is such an important one

  4. The greatest value I’ve found so far in practicing mindfulness is the sense of spaciousness it creates in my life. I don’t feel so rushed anymore and it seems like there is more time. This was not at all what I expected.

    1. That’s very kind of you. Thanks so much for the feedback. Mindfulness has given me a richer more fulfilling life, I can come off the rails from time to time, but at least now I know where the rails are 🙂

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