Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Mindfulness – What are we trying to do?

This question is often a problem in itself. A definition is meant to be accurate, and literal.

While Mindfulness is largely about present moment awareness, this phrase often falls short to convey what it stands for. As you practice – you uncover more of what present moment awareness stands for including originality, acceptance, trust, humility, letting go and so many other things. Often mindfulness & meditation are mistaken for concentration techniques.

Much of what we do is a means to an end – we concentrate to complete some tasks. This in turn hopefully delivers rewards for us – financial or at the minimum recognition and appreciation. This makes it difficult to appreciate the impact Mindfulness has – since all we are trying to do is to be who we are - NOW.

I have found it easier to explain Mindfulness with real life examples. For instance I love nature and when I watch the sunset, I am often transfixed. Each moment as the sun nears the horizon seems wonderful with the sky changing colour and state. If I am interested in watching a particular section of the sky or I want a closer view, I have the option of zooming in/clicking pictures. If I am perched precariously or in a crowd (at times there is jostling as well), I have to be careful with awareness of the overall context.

So in watching the sunset – I am not pursuing a specific target, but allowing my experience to guide me. I accept it for what it is – without wishing the sun were bigger or smaller. I have an overall context, but zoom in & out as I want to. The sunset has my attention and to soak in the experience, I avoid doing anything else but watch. Mindfulness, and meditation is a lot like that. In fact, if you can relate to the concept in this way, meditation is effortless and fulfilling (though it may uncover pains) - as it is meant to be.

Meditation, when viewed as a means to an end, often fails. This is because the mind is certain to constantly evaluate the results, returning to the very problem mindfulness seeks to address. If you practice, the benefits certainly accrue pretty quickly.

(Images from