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:
Here is the definition according to Dictionary.com:
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.
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
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.
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
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:
- The Confidence Gap by Russ Harris
- Blink by Malcolm Gladwell
- Mindfulness Meditation books by Alfred James
James W D