What comes to mind when you think of mindfulness? Is it an image of a guru, the Dalai Lama or some person meditating? Do you think of it as something that can only be experienced in silence and solitude? Do you think of it as an elevated state of mind or being that requires years of study and hard work?
While mindfulness has certainly taken on the appearance of all described above, it is in truth none of it. You don’t have to be a guru on some idealized spiritual path, you don’t have to study and you don’t have to belong to a particular religious or spiritual organization. Being mindful is being present here and now. It is the full engagement in the moment. Being aware of what is taking place within you−your thoughts and feeling, and outside of you−the events of the world, and understanding the correlation between the two.
Mindfulness is integrity. It is being present to the truth while being aware of the untruth and discerning between the two. It is living from the truth as it is known in the present moment. It is acknowledging when out of integrity and gentle moving back into integrity without shame, guilt or judgment. It is knowing that today what is known to be true, tomorrow might not be. It is the willingness to live from new truth and understanding.
The mindless world reference in the title speaks to the many mindless activities taking place across the planet on an all too regular basis. These are acts of thought, word or deed without consideration for the potentially harmful consequences of those actions.
Mindfulness is the understanding of the connectedness of all people and all things. As something is done to one it is done to all. As the planet is desecrated by one the effect touches all. As untruths are promulgated by one or a few the masses are affected. Mindfulness is the conscious awareness of the impact we each have on those immediately around us and the world at large.
Mindfulness does not eliminate the challenging opportunities life presents. It allows us to be present to the benefits of the challenging opportunity while in the midst of the experience. It allows us to be responsive without being reactive.
Mindfulness allows us to experience life in its perfect unfoldment without comparison to what has been or might be. When comparisons are made to another time or place, be it past or future, we cannot be present to what is in the midst of unfolding.
Mindfulness can be experienced in any situation, not just in dedicated meditation. It can be at work, driving your car or quietly working in your garden. It is whenever and wherever you are fully present to what the moment offers and your role in it.
How do you become more mindful? The simple answer, choose to be. Make a commitment to be more present to the current moment by being aware of what is happening inside and outside of you. It is the “sensing” of what the moment is offering and acting from the truth that is present.
You will have distractions that take you out of the current moment. However, you have the ability to be aware of your distractions which offers the opportunity to acknowledge them, release them and return to the moment at hand. Most distractions come in the form of thoughts associated with a past experience or an imagining about a future event. Some will ask, what about using the imagination to create something new? Yes, that can certainly be done. In fact, the present moment is the only time in which something can be created.
Being mindful is what will resolve the issues facing humanity individually and collectively. It is what will bring about the world we all say we desire. Like everything we experience in life it is a simple matter of choice.
Jim Phillips is a L.I.F.E. Strategist, speaker and author. For over 30 years he has been inspiring others to higher levels of understanding through his presentations throughout the United States and Europe.
Jim graduated from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, VA. He currently resides in Aldie, VA where he continues his writing, coaching and speaking.