Present and Mindful. . .
When it comes to Buddhism you most certainly have heard of presence or mindfulness, but just what is that definition and how does it pertain to daily life?
Mindfulness means maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment, through a gentle, nurturing lens.
Mindfulness also involves acceptance, meaning that we pay attention to our thoughts and feelings without judging them —without believing, for instance, that there’s a “right” or “wrong” way to think or feel in a given moment. When we practice mindfulness, our thoughts tune into what we’re sensing in the present moment rather than rehashing the past or imagining the future.
Though it has its roots in Buddhist meditation, a secular practice of mindfulness has entered the American mainstream in recent years, in part through the thousands of studies that have documented the physical and mental health benefits of mindfulness.
Many practitioners consider mindfulness to be a minute by minute practice of being present, which is great but it can also be a moment of reflection on the day or the last few minutes. The key here is to sit down and reflect – mindfully. This can be in addition to meditation or become your meditation.
For some people, mindfulness is primarily a way to enhance health or performance. For others, mindfulness is a tool for self-exploration. And yet for others, mindfulness is part of a spiritual path, a way to develop insight into the human condition and freedom from suffering.
Regardless of the motivation, scientists find that practicing mindfulness is associated with changes in the structure and function of the brain as well as changes in our physiological responses to stress, suggesting that this practice has important impacts on our physical and emotional health that are worth exploring.
Peace and Love, Jim