Mindfulness for the Everyday Person by an Everyday Person
Photo credit: ForbesOste on Visual Hunt / CC BY
Over the past few years mindfulness has really came on strong. With all the everyday pressures of life whether it be from work, your family or your health it’s hard to stay centered and not get stressed the hell out. I was no exception.
I began researching why I was feeling this way and came across mindfulness. This seemed like a decent route to take considering every other article I read involved drugging yourself to the point that you would lose yourself in the process.
So I read a few articles and books on mindfulness and I was immediately hooked. The Power of Now written by Echhart Tolle is an amazing read.
I’m going to do my best to explain what mindfulness means to me and how it has dramatically changed my life for the better, but if you want a professional opinion check out this youtube video on mindfulness.
As I learned the meaning of mindfulness I was immediately intrigued. I mean, who had the ability to sit back and watch their thoughts go by without getting attached to them and getting lost in a world of thought. I sure as hell didn’t. And even if I did, I wasn’t exactly proud of the some of them (good thing I was the only one who heard them.)
Next, how was I supposed to slow down my ever so hectic mind? I think the way I think right? I’ve never been so wrong about something in my life.
I continued reading and learning everyday. Then I found my way to meditation. My immediate thought was “I’m not a monk, why the heck would I do this? And who has the time to sit around like a statue looking goofy?” Determined to change my life I went ahead and gave it a try.
At first, this wasn’t easy. But as I began breathing deeply and slowly and listened to the voice on my meditation app (Headspace) I started making progress. I was able to shut down my thoughts for a few brief seconds. Those brief moments are what changed my life.
After a few weeks I was noticing major changes within myself. I was more present. I was more peaceful. I was full of joy. I was now able to stand in the background of my thoughts, watch them, and let them pass without reacting.
The key to this is to observe your thoughts in an NON-JUDMENTAL way, or learn not get attached to a thought (detached.)
But first, you have to learn how to shut down your mind completely (that’s where meditation comes into play).
If I saw a negative thought pass by I would simply say to myself ” Hey, there’s a negative thought” and not get attached to the meaning.
Being mindful of your thoughts in any situation is a wonderful gift. Instead of being in robot mode, actually engage in the activity that is taking place.
It’s so peaceful I promise you this.
As I’m typing this article now, I am concentrating and feeling every key stroke beneath my finger tips. Before, it would just be a chore and I’d be thinking about how I was going to pay down my maxed out credit cards.
I’m being mindful of the moment and my thoughts and its a very wonderful feeling.
In conclusion, I would say my personal definition of mindfulness or being mindful is this:
When a person has the ability to stand back behind his thought patterns (sort of like a 3rd person), watch them pass, do it unjudgmentally, and not get attached to them. Also having the ability to catch yourself in a strand of thoughts and peacefully bring yourself back to the present moment.
If you are ever feeling like you can’t slow down your mind, your thoughts are too attached to the past, or anxious about the future, then you yourself have the ability to change this. Take a look into mindfulness and explore the multiple benefits it has to offer you and the people around you.
Humbly Written by Chris McDaniel