How to apply mindfulness in your daily life
– old wisdom in new clothing
Mindfulness has become one of the new personal development trends. Many celebrities talk about how this method has changed their lives. And if it changed the life of someone we admire, we tend to view that particular thing favorably.
These days you can hear someone say that they are on their way to their mindfulness class. It seems that just like with yoga, qi-gong or meditation, we need a fixed time of the week to exercise the mental parts of ourselves.
Very few of us take the time and trouble to exercise stillness instead of activity. Not so many people realize the benefits of taking the time to do nothing, in order to be more energetic, present and efficient. It is really one of the great personal development tools!
If I do nothing for a few moments now, I will accomplish better later. That is what being silent, in stillness and in a meditative state teach us.
So what is this concept all about?
First of all, mindfulness is nothing new. Buddhists have been practicing this kind of conscious presence for more than 2500 years. In Buddhism, there are eight different paths to follow. One of them is the right consciousness.
In many ways consciousness is one of the biggest mysteries or enigmas of biology. We receive eleven million signals per second, but we are only aware of approximately forty of them. Our consciousness is like a spot light. You can actually control it.
This is where mindfulness comes in. Through our awareness we have the ability to choose which world we want to create. Using the methods described here is like lighting up a dark room:
- Close your eyes.
- Listen to the sounds around you.
- Just listen.
- Now you become conscious of the sounds surrounding you. They were there all the time, but you were not aware of them.
- As you become aware of a moment, it transforms itself into a thought and then it is over. A moment can never be caught; it can only be observed and experienced here and now.
That is how mindfulness points us in the direction of the present moment, the “now”.
Mindfulness is a popular personal development concept these days because today´s busy lives really need moments of stillness. That is what this method can do if you apply it.
The increased awareness means to be conscious. It includes some ancient Buddhist methods such as breathing, body awareness and meditation. It is nothing fancy or complicated. The beauty of mindfulness lies in its simplicity. No need for equipment, money or a specific place to be. You just need a willingness to improve your awareness and then set aside time enough to practice some very simple techniques.
The most basic way of applying a simple and doable technique is to observe the present moment. And there are several methods for doing that. One very elementary technique is to notice how you experience your actions, your thoughts and your emotions.
Most of our actions are on autopilot. We act, behave, think and react without much observation or reflection. But you can learn to point your attention in another direction; towards the true reality. The stillness teaches us to see life as it is. Nothing more, nothing less. The great teacher and inspirational author Eckhart Tolle speaks very interestingly about this kind of awareness; the power of now. You will also find more about Eckhart Tolle and his teachings in the "Great Books" section on this site.
So how can we learn to observe the present moment? The easiest thing to do is to breathe! Accordingly, here is a brief description of a breathing exercise which increases your self awareness, your consciousness and ability to be in the present moment:
- Take a deep breath.
- How do I feel right now?
- How is my body? Tense or relaxed?
- What feelings do you have?
- Are the emotions positive or negative?
- Are there any disturbing thoughts?
- Observe them!
- They are nothing but thoughts.
- Breathe more deeply.
- Finish your exercise.
Mindfulness is a slow and gentle process for personal development. Use the exercise above in various situations, especially during unpleasant or stressful circumstances. Many people have experienced great positive changes of personal development as they have increased their awareness using this method.
We all need to slow down and observe “the now”. Because the truth is that life consists of nothing but present moments. All the time, one after the other… There is no future here right now, only "now". There is no past here right now, only "now". Your level of personal growth and development can benefit enormously from this simple truth. It really is personal development inside out!
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