Sunday, April 20, 2014

How to Begin Practicing Mindfulness

I've written about mindfulness before, but I have come to a spiritual understanding recently where I have been able to practice and appreciate living in the moment more deeply. The thing about practicing mindfulness is that it takes practice. You have to be patient on yourself when you do become stressed out about getting to work on time or tired of watching your little one go up the stairs and down the slide over and over and over again. Luckily, it is often possible to enjoy or at least embrace many of these moments.

Mindfulness is essentially feeling the purpose of whatever activity you happen to be presently engaged in, such as letting the meaning of each word resonate as you read it. Knowing that my purpose when I'm walking to work is simply to walk to work allows me to focus on the crisp air, the perky bird chirping, and the fuzzy bee bumbling by. There are so many pleasant experiences I might ignore if I instead allowed myself to feel daunted by the day ahead.

When you become aware of that frustrated feeling creeping up, take a deep breath. Let that realization pause your thought process. Then, let it be. Try to relax and tell yourself to focus on whatever the moment is currently presenting you with.

Of course, it can be difficult to remember your purpose is just to drive a car when there is traffic or a crying baby in the backseat, but life allows us plenty of opportunities to just keep practicing. I don't expect to become enlightened in a few days (or perhaps ever), but I can still aim to be content.

I've found that the more I let go of that running narrative in my mind, my attitude becomes more gentle and I am able to feel more forgiving towards myself, my loved ones, and other people whom I encounter. Our own mindfulness and patience not only improves our personal experiences, but carries through our interactions to the experiences and hopefully to the attitudes of other individuals. Through practicing mindfulness, it truly is possible to create a more positive world around us!

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