- Religion and Philosophy
Mindfulness: Your Link to the Universe
Mindfulness is the secret of life. A life lived mindfully is a life lived full of peace, tranquility, joy, bliss, ecstasy and compassion. Mindfulness is our direct link to the Universe. It is the solution that we as human beings have been seeking outside ourselves since the beginning of modern times. The simple practice of mindfulness has been around for thousands of years; however most human beings discard this approach to life and instead search for more complex and intellectual philosophies or techniques. Unfortunately, this external journey never resolves itself. There are many individuals and texts available that also complicate and over analyze mindfulness. It seems that our ego is programmed to complicate even the simplest solutions. Mindfulness is meant to be simple, yet a profound way to live. This present centered solution allows us to live authentic lives.
So, what exactly is mindfulness and how do you apply it to your life? Mindfulness is a specific form of meditation or simply put awareness of the moment. There are many different forms of meditation, however we are going to specifically focus on mindfulness meditation, which this author believe to be the most practical and pure meditative exercise. Mindfulness involves directly participating in each moment as it occurs with complete awareness of your present experience. Life only exists in the Here and Now when practicing mindfulness. The moment we experience is pure and unadulterated. Mindfulness is a “living” meditation that you can practice each second of your precious life. There is no need to escape to a secluded place, as you can engage in mindfulness anywhere and at anytime, no matter what is happening around you.
Instead of presenting the reader with one rigid definition of mindfulness, a few but concise definitions will be presented below drawn from the wisdom of various experts and practitioners of mindfulness.
Jon Kabat-Zinn, the best selling author of Wherever You Go There You Are and the creator of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, describes mindfulness meditation as “paying attention in a particular way; on purpose, in the present moment and non-judgmentally.”
Levey and Levey in their magnificent book, Simple Meditation and Relaxation, state “ Mindfulness liberates us from memories of the past and fantasies of the future by bringing reality of the present moment clearly into focus.” They also express that “mindfulness makes us aware of life's everyday miracles.”
In one of the ancient Buddhist commentaries, it is stated that mindfulness is “presence of mind, attentiveness to the present...”
Stephen Levine, author of A Gradual Awakening, says that mindfulness is a “ moment to moment awareness of whatever arises, whatever exists.”
Meditation teacher and author Sylvia Boorstein states that mindfulness is having “ the aware, balanced acceptance of present experience. It is not more complicated than that. It is opening to or receiving the present moment, pleasant or unpleasant, just as it is, without either clinging to or rejecting it.”
These simple yet profound use diverse expression and terminology, but what they all share in common is that mindfulness is being completely and fully present for life. It is being aware of what is going on within and around you in each moment of your miraculous existence. We simply practice awareness without judgment, accepting our thoughts and emotions exactly as they are.
As you may have noticed mindfulness is a simple yet, powerful way to live our lives. Its simply being Right Here, Right Now: immersing your entire being in the present moment and fully experiencing your life. That's it! It really is that straight forward. It is not necessary to over analyze, intellectualize, or complicate what it is to be mindful. Of course our ego wants to distract us in any way possible, but don't allow this. Recognize the presence of your ego, say hello, and then calmly dismiss it. All there is to being mindful is to Simply Be. While there are plenty more advanced explanations on this topic available for you to further explore if you desire; what has been described here is the simple and pure essence of mindfulness meditation.
As you leave this article and continue your journey of mindful living or if you are just beginning, this writer suggests that you dive into the ocean of Now and intimately acquaint yourself with the pleasure of what is directly in front of you. As expressed in the Zen tradition, “When eating, eta and when walking, walk.”
Are you Right Here, Right Now? If not, center yourself and experience the bliss and ecstasy of the eternal moment. Enjoy your journey!