Psychology Today describes mindfulness as “a state of active, open attention on the present. When you’re mindful, you observe your thoughts and feelings from a distance, without judging them good or bad. Instead of letting your life pass you by, mindfulness means living in the moment and awakening to experience.”
Mindfulness is a heightened awareness to a single pointed focus. This awareness creates more space in the mind, where, ironically, there is no room for the mind cluttering of multi-tasking. It is a way of widening the gap between thoughts to allow the brain time and space to make clear and right-minded decisions and choices. As a culture, we revere multi-tasking. While we have the perception we are getting more tasks done, the backlash lies in compressing that gap between thoughts, squeezing the mind and shortening fully formed and focused thoughts. In short, we have the attention span of a gnat. That scattered racing about makes us prone to be reactive rather than proactive. See a trend happening here?
The deliberate manner of mindfulness opens the mental quality of non-judgmental attention. One sees things without illusion or projection, directly as they are, in the present moment. The uni-tasking of mindfulness contentedly surrenders that the past is over, the future hasn’t happened yet, savor the present.
Mindfulness gives one the chance to pause and make a decision that is of service to self and others rather than one that furthers conflict or causes harm. It’s a way of taking care of your responsibilities. Taking care of yourself is your responsibility. You know more than you think you do. You already know why you’re doing something and what the outcome of that something will be. That keen awareness of situation and surroundings often is where our minds get tripped up, overwhelmed, making us want to check out. Pick your poison of distraction: sex, drugs and rock & roll. Don’t forget food and stupid television. At some point the distraction becomes the single pointed focus of your attention. It’s there we turn into something unrecognizable to ourselves and others. Stuck in that compressed mind space we fling ourselves headlong into something perhaps impulsive, reckless, annoying, untrustworthy, maybe even disloyal. That’s probably not you. I hope it’s not me. But, what if you’re nothing like what you make yourself out to be because you get soooo caught up in your own mindlessness that you are constantly losing yourself, getting in over your head time and time again? What if you gave yourself permission to visit that wide open, prairie range space between thoughts and directly contribute to your well-being and ability to feel your life fully – would you take it? Maybe if it came in the form of a pill? It’s your choice as to how you want mindlessness and mindfulness to affect you. Step one: deep breath in, deep breath out.