Brief Post: Mindfulness and Everyday Discoveries

Mindfulness, a definition:

Mindfulness is a pretty simple concept. Being mindful in your everyday life is kind of the opposite of having a full mind in the sense of a mind full of thoughts. On the other hand, when one is in a very mindful state of mind, one’s mind is full, just not spilling over, and full in a different sense than full of thoughts. Moment to moment awareness is a way of filling your mind, in the sense that your “Mind” is completely focused on the moment.

To be focused on the moment as I understand, is to have a balance of awareness between inside and outside of your mind body state. So you are equally aware of what is going on in your own physical/mental/emotional/spiritual body and the environment around your own body. Practicing mindfulness is a way of practicing ACCEPTANCE.

Fully accepting whatever there is is a way of being close to Truth. Reality is pared down to what is Real. Everything you are experiencing in your own MindBody is accepted, whether it is pleasant or unpleasant. You may feel splintered, you may feel chaotic, you may feel conflicting feelings, however you are able to accept everything at once. Being mindful while alone feels different from being mindful around other beings. It is good practice to practice this mindfulness when alone, as there is less likely to be confusion and overstimulation. If you create your own environment and are in it by yourself, you can practice noticing how you feel inside yourself and what you observe outside yourself.

Another way of practicing mindfulness around people so as to work on practicing it in relationships with others is to practice in environments when you are by yourself but going somewhere or sitting somewhere in company of others who are “strangers”. Noticing your reactions to your environment in the moment can be quite interesting, as you may have many thoughts and opinions crowding your mind or perhaps not much. Everyone has a loud mind sometimes, but listening to your own mind without judgment can be a way to practice listening to others without judgment.

Practicing mindfulness around people you already “know” can reveal that you do not really know them in certain ways. I have found this practice yields very interesting results. When I practice this I try to approach a person I know with the curiosity of not knowing anything. In fact, I do not know what s/he will do or say in the next moment. In practicing this kind of mindfulness, it is easier to be aware of one’s assumptions and preconceptions and how they cloud the mind. In addition, approaching someone you have a lot of emotional investment in with an open mind can yield much more creative and interesting situations. Someone starts to tell you something and instead of having any idea of what they are saying or meaning, I can approach it with the neutrality of a journalist or scientist. I find this to be the best way to learn about anything. When able to achieve this state of mind, I look upon others as being experts about themselves, so I ask questions that will help me discover more about what they are communicating with me. Suddenly all the problems I experience around communications with others seem to melt away with this simplicity. Knowing nothing is a lot less stressful than thinking I know a lot.

Imaginative play with children is another way to get into a more mindful state. It is similar to how actors who do “Improvisation” approach their craft. You enter the stage as another enters and then whoever makes a “proposal” starts. The other person accepts the proposal. Not accepting is a form of “blocking” which closes down play. With a child it is the same. If a kid says lets pretend this table is a boat, then you can say oh cool, what kind of boat are we in? or where are we going in this boat? Even adding something without subtracting can keep the play open and active, ie. Guess what, this boat is so cool it can be a boat on the water or turn into a submarine or fly in the air if we want it to! With art making this principle is similar. Recently I was making roses out of Sculpey. I started with a color like pink, red or yellow and then attached a green stem. After making a few small roses like this, it occurred to me to ask myself, why not make a blue rose with a pink stem or a multicolored rose with a purple stem. I was with children at the time, so my mind was already more open anyway. If you treat reality this way, anything can be “sculpey” or your “canvas” and you can “make” a collaborative thing with others by adding to what they contribute. ..

  1. the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something.
  2. a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.

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