Mindfulness, like meditation and self-inquiry, is a powerful inner tool for self-realisation, and is essential for authentic, successful, and healthy living.
Mindfulness is the practice of consciously directing our attention on our inner and outer experience in the present moment, without reactivity or distraction. Mindfulness involves training our will so that our attention is not distracted, scattered, or lost. Mindfulness is therefore a key way of increasing our self-awareness and staying centred in our authentic self.
Often our attention can be caught up in endless thoughts and emotions, particularly when we worry about the future, or dwell upon the past. We might daydream or dissociate from our present-moment experience, allowing the beauty, magic, and potential of the moment to slip by us. When attention and awareness is lost in these ways, the following happens:
– We disconnect from the centre of our self
– Our energy is drained
– We miss key information
– We become less aware of our choices
– We diminish and fragment our experience
– We become less effective in our performance
– We react without full awareness, often with judgement and criticism
– We lose gratitude and compassion
– We stop living fully
Mindfulness can be practised as part of meditation and self-inquiry, but it can also be practised in every moment of your daily life, by consciously focusing your awareness on your experience in the present moment, as an observer. This is mindful living. Although your attention may wander at first, with practice this will be less the case; simply bring it back to the here and now when it does.
Benefits of Mindfulness
The benefits of mindfulness are becoming very clear as it is being increasingly practised in schools, businesses, healthcare, and sports to enhance results. Mindfulness is central to peak performance and personal growth or self-development, as well as to our health and our ability to relate well with others and our environment. The health of our world depends on us living with greater mindfulness to ensure that our actions are socially and ecologically sustainable.
Here are 9 powerful benefits of mindfulness that will improve your life:
1. You become more your true self as you learn to stay present in the centre of your being, rather than identify with or be caught up in your thoughts, feelings, roles, and inauthentic identities—this enables you to discover your authentic values and to respond to your authentic needs
2. You become more in control of your life, your self-development, and your destiny by maintaining your focus, maximising your choices, and releasing patterns that limit you
3. You perform better by being more focused, alert, aware, creative, and resourceful, and having more energy and presence of mind—one of the benefits of mindfulness is that it gives you the awareness to observe your psychological and physiological state, and to change it for the better when it is unresourceful and debilitating
4. You understand more by being more present to, and informed by, your inner and outer experience, and by listening more to others and your environment as you give them your full attention
5. You increase your physical health, beauty, and vitality by being more present in your body, accepting it, honouring it, eating mindfully, and listening to its true needs
6. You build inner peace, inner strength, and happiness by staying present in your centre, in the moment, rather than identifying with and reacting to thoughts, emotions, and impulses that create anxiety, depression, and negative or conflicting states of mind
7. You have healthier, more successful relationships by increasing your awareness of your needs and your awareness of others; developing empathy and compassion; engaging in more effective communication; and making more conscious choices about who to have around you
8. You become better connected with life and your surroundings by being more present to them and ceasing to be trapped in your mind's stream of thoughts and emotions, and making choices that benefit life in a social, economic, and ecological way
9. You are able to develop an attitude of gratefulness and appreciation, noticing the blessings of life before you that were previously missed when you were not present—this is an inherent quality of the authentic self, and will increase your wellbeing and heal your relationship with life when realised
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