1. a state of being unconscious or unaware of something
2. a mental state achieved by focusing one's awareness on the past events and the ones that have yet to come.
3. Feeling frustrated or disappointed by one's feelings, thoughts, or reactions.
4. Reacting to moments or events that have already occurred.
1. a state of being conscious or aware of something
2. a mental state achieved by focusing one's awareness on the present moment
3. Calmly acknowledging and accepting one's feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations.
4. Moment by moment awareness in the present.
Which are you? Lately, I must say I've been more of a 'mindful-mess'. As I am currently adapting to a new home, new people, unusual circumstances and different ideals. I have become more and more aware of my abrupt need to make judgements, my irritability at almost everything and a sense of anxiety about things that have not yet occurred. I’ll be honest, for the longest time I thought I had mastered the art of being mindful, but the recent influx of unusual circumstances have proven me otherwise!
Gone are the days that I paused before I responded as if I couldn't understand what you said. Gone are the days when I walked around taking it all in like it was the first day of spring. Gone are the days where I felt like I could see the future and clearly understand all things. What has happened? Where has my mindfulness gone? Why is my mind such a mess? These questions have begun to oscillate in my head.
Now, be aware that although I may not be as mindful as I once was, the fact that I can acknowledge the lack therein is mindful in itself. So ask yourself these questions: Do you realise when your being mindful? Do you realise when your mind is more of a mess? Are you able to catch yourself in those moments and recognise its not your best?
If your answer is yes. Then you have known what mindfulness is. In fact, we all have. You see, mindfulness is a basic human function that has become not so basic due to all the distractions of the world. As you may already know, mindfulness is rooted in Buddhism and it is considered one of the oldest traditions ever practiced. Back in the day, Buddha believed that mindfulness should be part of everyday life and he believed that it was a key for gaining deep wisdom. Wisdom about life, purpose, people and most importantly wisdom about yourself!
Although, this idea of being aware of the reality of things in the present moment has had its peaks here and there since the 1970s, it is not just a trend, it has been around for thousands of years and will probably be around for many more. Therefore, it is important for us to be aware of our mindfulness versus our 'mindful-mess' so that we can be fully present in the here and now rather than rehashing the past or imagining the future.
Being mindful is a moment-by-moment awareness in the present moment that can be gained or lost depending on us. Yes, like all things in life being mindful takes practice and it takes a lot of work on our behalf. We have to choose to be mindful everyday in anyway we can. You can practice being mindful as you're eating, as you're walking, as you're taking a shower or as you're driving. Use the sensations of breathing as your anchor to the present moment and go from there. Little by little build up on your sensory experience and learn to take them in one by one as they occur. If your not sure where to start read my blog on 'How to be Mindful' for help.
And, if you are not sure where you lie on a mindfulness vs. 'mindful-mess' scale take this test. Become aware of where you are in your mindfulness and feel free to share your results in the comments section below.