What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness can be the key to a calmer, more serene, and more compassionate way of life. So why isn't everyone doing it?
One reason may be that not everyone understands exactly what mindfulness is. Paying attention to what you are doing? A meditative practice? Direct experience of the now? Yes, yes and yes.
While mindfulness is something that is a natural part of our way of perceiving the world, we often live much of our lives on autopilot and miss the direct experience of the only reality we will ever really know—the current moment.
What is so important about the current moment? Everything. It is the only reality there is. Our plans, projections, memories, and daydreams are merely figments of our minds and do not exist except in our minds. By connecting with the reality of the current moment, we connect with the universe and everything in it.
If we endeavor to practice and develop this way of experiencing our lives we discover that there is much more to it than we might have imagined. Once we are able to clear our mind of inner dialogue and thought processes and experience the world directly, we notice a sense of freedom unlike any other.
What is this sense of freedom? It might be described as freedom from ourselves—our ego. It can be described as an enlightenment or a spiritual experience. Since it can only be experienced directly by each of us and not experienced thorough any description, It can only be known through direct experience.
This experience is available to all of us no matter who we are, where we are, or in what moment we choose to experience it. Since we already naturally have this capacity within us, all we need to do is add a little intention to practice it and it will come into being.
While this practice is at its root quite simple, it is not always easy. Our minds have been programmed to spend more time in the past and future than in the present moment. Our egos would have us believe that we are separate from everything and everyone else in the universe. This makes it difficult to keep our thoughts clear and non-reactive as we experience the moment with full presence.
This is where the concept of practice comes into play. In order to make your present moment connection with the now easier and more attainable it takes practice. Practice starts with intention, relaxation, attention, and a dynamic habit of returning to the process over and over again when you notice that your attention has been carried away by thought.
If you think this practice might be of benefit to you, I encourage you to try it out for yourself. If it works for you like it works for me you will begin to notice a change within yourself fairly quickly. If you continue to practice mindfulness it can help you to connect with your higher self, the universe, and others in your life.
To learn how to put a driving meditation practice into action, read Solan McClean's "Learning to Drive into the Now:PRND" a practical guide to developing and maintaining a Mindfulness Driving Meditation practice.