It is rather unfortunate that mindfulness has become trendy. The watered-down definition I hear most often is that mindfulness is awareness of the present moment. Mindfulness does indeed encompass present moment awareness as opposed to thinking about the past or worrying about the future. But by that definition, one could say that a shoplifter is mindful. I would imagine that a shoplifter does not want to be arrested and is very much in the present moment. However, because shop-lifting lacks integrity and morality, it would not be an accurate application of mindfulness to say you are a mindful shoplifter. Mindfulness practice is much deeper than just present moment awareness. It has the qualities of peacefulness, morality, and integrity as well as insight and wisdom.
Mindfulness contains peacefulness and peacefulness contains mindfulness. Another reason the shoplifter is not mindful is that she is not peaceful. Avoiding arrest sounds like the antithesis to peacefulness.
There are many techniques to help establish mindfulness, but they all bring us to a place that establishes a sense of grounding and ease. For many people, the greatest sense of relief comes from the mind slowing down. Mindfulness puts brakes on the racing mind. We relax as the body and mind are reunited in the here and now.
Morality & Integrity
When the energy of mindfulness begins to get stronger, our actions, thoughts, and words are moral. We don’t hurt one other. We don’t hurt ourselves. Mindful morality and integrity cultivate self-care and propels us to use the right actions and efforts to care for our precious human body. The gentleness that organically grows from our practice propels us to take care of others that are suffering. We become generous and give of ourselves and share our resources when we feel peaceful and relaxed. Fearfulness and anxiety, on the other hand, is conducive to rigidness and tightness.
Insight & Wisdom
When mindfulness is firmly established, and the mind has settled down we begin to have insight and understanding. Mindfulness is like a mirror. It reflects the image of our true nature. We begin to understand ourselves very deeply. Subtle intentions, beliefs, and perceptions that are hidden in the deep crevices of our subconscious mind rise to the conscious mind. We can also begin to understand others with deeper insight and wisdom. Your suffering and my suffering begin to look more alike than different. We begin to understand the influence of this thing to that thing. We understand how what we consume, with our eyes, mouth, ears affect our self, others and the planet. We begin to see that your suffering has the same qualities as my suffering.
I hope this blog has helped to deepen the understanding of mindfulness. It is quite profound!
If you would like to leave a comment, I would love to hear from you!
In peace, diane