Mindfulness is a way of being present and engaged in whatever you are doing, while you are doing it. This may seem obvious, but think about how often you become distracted when you are washing the dishes, playing with your kids, or working at your desk. So often, we reminisce or feel guilt about the past, plan for or worry about the future, or simply daydream while we are supposed to be engaged in other activities. This lack of presence breeds frustration and discontent because it robs us of the only reality we have – the present moment.
By cultivating mindful awareness, we train ourselves to be fully involved, non-judgmentally, with what we are doing. We recognize distractions as they arise, but choose to let them pass, preferring instead to remain present and engaged.
Mindfulness practice usually begins by cultivating mindful awareness of the breath – the bridge between body and mind. We learn to enjoy the fullness of each inhale and each exhale and the presence of mind the breath provides. While we follow our breath, the brain keeps doing what it does best – it creates thoughts! We recognize these thoughts, so adept at alluring and distracting us, but choose instead to let them pass as we return to our breath. We do this over and over again. That’s the practice. Eventually, this practice becomes embedded in our daily lives and we find ourselves returning to our breath as we move through our day. Life becomes more vibrant, distracting thoughts and daydreams become less attractive, and we continue to build joyful, meaningful, successful lives.
For my musical treatise on mindfulness, click the player below.