Mindfulness – Why it is Important

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It seems like in almost every post I have written here I mention mindfulness, so I thought I would dedicate a post to it and why it is important.  Before I get into the meat of the post, let’s first take a look at how the word is defined:

Mindfulness Definition

Here is the definition according to Dictionary.com:

“Noun

1. The state or quality of being mindful or aware of something.

2. Psychology.

  1. technique in which one focuses one’s full attention only on the present, experiencing thoughts, feelings, and sensations but not judging them:
    The practice of mindfulness can reduce stress and physical pain.
  2. The mental state maintained by the use of this technique.

There are a couple key words or phrases in the definition that stand out to me here.  The first was the word “present” which is a very important word.  The second was the phrase, “but not judging them.”

Focusing on the Present

One of the main aspects of being mindful is learning how to focus your attention on the present moment.  This means not dreading on things that have happened in the past nor worrying about things that may or may not happen in the future. A great perspective on this comes from Master Oogway in the Movie Kung Fu Panda:

 

Effectively what I want you to know is that the past really is just that, the past.  We cannot change the past but we can learn from it, especially when we have made mistakes.  Just like Master Oogway says, the past is history.

When it comes to the future, obviously that is a little more complex since it has not come to pass yet.  However this is where mindfulness really comes into play as I am a firm believer that we create the life we are experiencing.  Let me share a little perspective with you to help you understand that.

“Have you ever bought a car, one that you thought was not as common?  Then only to find out that you see them everywhere?

What happens is that you have been seeing these cars prior, but because they not a part of your life for any reason they just drove right by under the radar.

Now that you have one of your own though you start to take notice to everyone that you see.  This is because you have brought it into your life and now when you see the other versions of it you recognize them. “

Taking that perspective into mind, that is pretty much how life works when you are moving forward through time.  If you are looking for things you will find them.  However, I will throw out a word of caution here as you can very easily deceive yourself.

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“I will never find the right guy”

Let’s take an example of someone that is looking for either Mr. or Mrs. Right.  According to my above statement if you are looking for that person they should be easy to find, yet there are so many people out there looking and not finding them.  Perhaps they are sabotaging their own efforts?

Say Sally has been looking for that special someone and just has not had any luck.  When we take a closer look at this type of situation you can often see the problem if you are mindful of the words being said.  For example, Sally says things like, “I will never find the right guy” or “All of the good guys are already taken.”

As you can see now, Sally is not being mindful of her spoken words and is actually creating a world for herself in which she is defeating her own desires.  Now if Sally would change how she speaks and do it in a more positive manner, she has a much better chance of finding her Prince Charming.

Not Judging Now as it Happens

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Making a conscious effort will make all the difference in the world.

This is my opinion is the hardest part of learning how to be mindful in your life.  We have been raised in a world where judgements are always being made.  Overcoming this “training” we have received throughout our life will take a dedicated conscious effort.

I would like to take a moment here and talk about just what I mean by a conscious effort first.  By that I mean when something pops up in your head that is not in alignment with the direction you want to be thinking, you consciously change the thought and either resay it in a positive manner or forgive yourself for going down a road you did not mean to travel.

Now with that in mind, it is time to put a stop to making quick judgements and to realize the bigger picture first.  My life recently has given me a good example to use here to help explain this.

“I have about a 40 minute commute to work traveling about 30 miles right now.  I have been plagued with road rage through out my life and more recently I have really been working on overcoming that.  Just today on my way in there were two different instances where in the past I would have gotten a bit upset.

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My daily commute has been helpful for me to learn how to be mindful of my thoughts.

The first was a car passing me in the slow lane even though there was no real way to get ahead with traffic in front of us.  In the past I would have stayed close to the vehicle in front of me and not let the driver over, but today I slowed down and let him in.  Not one ounce of rage, just a thought that I didn’t know the whole story and I just let it go.

The second was as I was approaching my exit and someone from my left jumped two lanes and got off the exit in front of me.  At first I started to think that I wish people would get over before their exit, but again I reminded myself that maybe he couldn’t due to the traffic behind me.  So again, I caught myself and made a conscious effort to be mindful of my thoughts and to not pass judgement on them.”

This has been my project over the last few months to teach myself how to not get upset with other drivers, even when the evidence does support a poor decision on their part.  When I have gotten upset I made sure that I thought about the situation and forgave myself.  However, the more mindful I have been the less upset I have gotten and the need to forgive myself has abated.

The main concept though behind not judging the moment, is to recognize that there is often a much larger picture to the scene than you are aware of.  Instilling that fact into consciousness will help you tremendously when it comes to being mindful.  Don’t judge the moment on just a part of the puzzle, but look for the whole picture before you make any decisions.

Why it is Important

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Each person becomes a pebble being tossed in the pond.

Mindfulness is as you can see now extremely important in one’s life.  By being mindful of how you think and the words that you say, you begin to reshape and determine exactly what kind of life it is that you want.  With each person that learns and applies this to our life, the world will change and become a more positive place.

Each person becomes a pebble being tossed into the pond causing a ripple effect that cascades throughout all of humanity.  With each new ripple the waves of positivity will grow and the bigger the impact we will have on the world.

This is how you as one person can make a difference in the world.  With each step you take to enlighten yourself and grow in a positive manner, the better the effect you will have as a role model.  Together we can make a change to how humanity lives on this planet.

Share Your Thoughts

I would love to hear how being mindful has had an influence on your life!  Please leave your story in the comment section below.  With each story shared we will create a bigger and bigger ripple, making our world a better place.

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If you are interested in learning more about Mindfulness, check out these books:

James W D
james@spiralrevolutions.com

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10 Replies to “Mindfulness – Why it is Important”

  1. James I really can’t stop wondering how much we think alike, I too absolutely loved that scene in Kung fu Panda..apart from being a hilarious animation movie the little messages in it are awesome like this one and the last few minutes that teaches him to believe in himself etc..

    Mindfulness is the simple yet very powerful using which we can change our unconscious habits that repeatedly produces results that we don’t want.Your conscious effort to change your reaction while driving is indeed admirable.
    Enjoyed this post a lot..thanks 🙂

    • Hari, yes the movie was a great one with plenty of funny moments and many little insightful ones. Anytime I see it on when looking for something to watch I will turn it on.

      As for the mindfulness, yes it is a very powerful tool that anyone can practice and hone in on. The more you work at it the easier it becomes and the more Life will be going in the direction that you want it. I am still working on the driving bit, but with each occurrence I get better at being more mindful of the moment.

  2. Great article!

    Never can be enough writing about being in the now. So important in life when we really want to achieve big things with each other. It’s the only way to growth.
    Thanks for sharing this.

    Regards,
    Kit

    • Thanks Kit! You are right, there never can be enough writing like this. I am glad to have my pebble cast into the pond and contributed with my ripples!

  3. Being mindful is something we really have to reconnect to it. Living in the moment is the only thing which is “real”. The past is the past and can’t be changed. As you said, we only can learn from the past.

    The future is not there yet, so making plans for it what could happen or been done is great, but getting concerned about the future is actually almost a waste of energy.

    Living in the present, in the moment, is being alive.
    We certainly have to practice being more in the moment, being more mindful.
    Breathing exercise, meaning, breathing consciously in and out, done a few times throughout the day, certainly will help to achieve it.

    Really enjoyed your article.
    Sylvia

    • I could not agree with you more Sylvia! Living in the present moment is the key to being alive. I have been working on and experimenting with different breathing exercises and it is something that certainly helps. I am glad you enjoyed the article and hope to see you back for the next one!

  4. Great article. It’s easy to keep looking back and complaining day in and day out about how nothing goes our way. But truly if we just do something we love today, do something that will benefit us today and in the future, than tomorrow life will simply look brighter! A positive attitude goes a long way!

    • You are exactly right Eloah! A positive attitude does go a long way in creating a happier life for you. If you focus on the negatives of the past you are only creating misery for yourself.

  5. Thank you for sharing your insights. I agree that being mindful is an important part of evolution, personal as well as spiritual. We can not change the past, we can only change our perspective about it, and integrate the lessons that have been presented. Living in the NOW moment is where we can actually create the future we are seeking, as well as learning to let go of “how” it will manifest. Thoughts, fueled by emotions promote action = success, in whatever form you define success.

    • You are very welcome Ellen! I love your statement about learning to let go of “how” it will manifest. That is a very important concept as well! Definitely one that I will have to ponder more on as well.

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