As I understand, a great percentage of us human beings have come across the phrase “live in the moment” more often than not but do we really comprehend the phrase in its entirety is something worth pondering over. People who understand the fact that the phrase equates to “Mindfulness”, that it is more of a psychological course as compared to a literally physical process need not much explanation about the results and benefits it has to offer, for the rest this article hopes to provide a brief account on the subject and how it can help us live a more peaceful, calm and tranquil life; just the way it is intended to be.
As Alan W Watts, a famous 20th century philosopher who made Buddhist and Zen teachings popular among the Western society through his pragmatic approach, once said – “Man suffers only because he takes seriously what the Gods made for fun”.
What is Mindfulness?
The mental ability to accept anything and everything – one’s own thoughts, emotions, and experiences (both internal and external) – at any given moment, without judging or without believing that there could be a “right” or a “wrong” way to feel about it is termed Mindfulness.
What are the benefits of Mindfulness?
Mindfulness enhances qualities like observance and awareness; provides for cultivation of an open, receptive and non-critical orientation to one’s experiences; and promotes physical, emotional and cognitive stability enabling more adaptive reactions to irritable situations. To live mindfully is to seize the moment and to not dwell in the past nor anticipate the future. It plays a major role in lowering stress levels, reducing harmful ruminations, protecting against depression and anxiety, and helping people cope with rejection and social isolation.
How can we practice Mindfulness?
There are several ways to do this. The most important ones being:
A very powerful technique scientifically proven to strengthen one’s mind towards dwelling in the current moment, meditation helps to stay aware of not just our inner self but our surroundings as well. It helps to focus intently on the HERE and NOW. There are plenty of ways to meditate, the most common one being watching one’s breath patterns while sitting in a comfortable position while also paying attention to the sensations of the moment like sounds, scent, temperature, feeling the air pass in and out of your body. Be aware of the thoughts running through the mind without judging or associating any kind of negativity to them. Gently try to bring back the focus on the breath. Making meditation for a few minutes a daily practice works miracles towards enhancing the quality of one’s life.
2. To Let go
Change is the only constant in our lives. Everything else is transient. To get attached to transients only work negatively taking us far from transcendence. The goal should be to let go off all emotions such as anger, anxiety, materialism, ego etc. that keeps the mind worried constantly; the goal is to be free; for a captive mind realises no happiness.
3. Be non-judgemental
Easier said than done but not impossible. Judgement allows for feeling superior (more often than not) or inferior, enables labels such as good or bad, happy or sad, beautiful or ugly etc. Judgement makes it easier to blame. Judgement and attachment form the deep roots of humanity’s sorrows.
Sometimes something as simple as a favourite pastime can help stay lively and focussed, increases attention span and keeps one happy. Pastime such as playing a favourite sport, exercising, listening to music or playing an instrument can all help towards mindfulness.
Mindfulness helps bring more clarity to thought and behaviour. It helps people learn and understand a lot about themselves that they were previously unaware of. It makes you feel more real and alive. It helps you look at the Creator with great respect and hold infinite love for his creations. It teaches you to be patient. More than anything it brings you closer to being one with the Universe.