The theory or concept of “mindfulness” has long attracted the students of Western positive psychology. Practiced regularly and properly, mindfulness has many health benefits. Apart from making us more enlightened and mentally healthy, it can also make our daily living harmonious and peaceful.
What exactly does mindfulness mean? Here’s a simple definition:
“Mindfulness is paying close attention to the experience of the present moment, with calm acceptance of whatever is happening.”
Now, do not confuse this with meditation. Meditation is altogether a different thing. It evokes a feeling of “mindlessness” according to some Eastern practitioners. While meditating, you suspend all your thinking faculties and let your mind wander wherever it want to creating a deep state of reverie.
On the other hand, mindfulness is a process where you are aware of the present, of what you are doing here and now. You are focused on your surroundings and everything that’s happening rather than being suspended in some inter-dimensional space. In the state of mindfulness, you’re aware of the situation you’re in and your inner experience of it.
For instance, if you are washing the dishes then you should pay your full attention to the washing them. Be one with the thing you are doing. Most of the people are either thinking about the past or the future or distract themselves some way or the other.
How to develop “Zen Presence” – Simple Trick to stop your Mind from Wandering
Mindfulness aims at making us aware and participate in the present moment. Zen presence enables us to engage the situation mindfully, without getting mixed in it. For instance, you can choose to engage in any argument with your friends and family. You cannot be provoked by any form of provocation because you are well aware of what they are doing and your own self which is mindful of your inner being. Choice is extremely crucial when it comes to mindfulness.
Some Eastern practitioners of this tradition speak of the “observing self” — a part of you, so to speak, that hovers quietly in the background of your consciousness. Some might call it the “Witness”. Your observer, that is you yourself, monitors your thoughts, reactions, feelings, impulses and your behavior.
Another name for it can be conscience. The inner voice that stops us from doing something bad, that unknowingly makes us choose the right path. Sigmund Freud termed it the Super-Ego.
Listen to this voice, listen to your observer if you don’t do it that much. The more you listen for the voice of your Observer/Witness, the more clearly you’ll hear it, and the more useful it might prove to be.
Your observer will not scold you, judge you or chastise you for anything. It will only report the observations to you so that you may be aware of what you just did, or are doing. This can give you a chance to pause – especially if you’re angry – and reflect on your actions or words.
Zen presence is not some guru guiding you do the mysteries of the world. It comes from within you, your consciousness that is deep seated in your soul that wants you to act more mindfully. Practicing mindfulness is natural and normal. It doesn’t make you some yogic devotee or some wayward gypsy. It makes you a better human being.