As professor Mark Williams of University of Oxford puts it, “Mindfulness means non-judgemental awareness. A direct knowing of what is going on inside and outside ourselves, moment by moment”. He further adds, “Important part of mindfulness is reestablishing the connection with our body and sensations it experiences. This means waking up to the sights, sounds, smells and tastes of the present moment”
In our daily fast paced lives, it is easy to stop noticing the world around us be detached with the way our body feels or experiences. We end up being caught in our thoughts and not noticing how those thoughts is driving our emotions and behavior in the present moment. Most often these thoughts are of incidents that have happened in the past or anticipation about the future. Mindfulness practice teaches awareness, to be aware of our thoughts, whatever they may be and be fully present in the moment.
Mindfulness is a form of meditation, where in you are practicing to be fully aware and focused in moment. It doesn’t ask you to change your thoughts or the way you feel. Simply be aware of what your mind is thinking or how your body is feeling. It is almost like being a third person observer watching over. It would seem very obvious or too simple to have this awareness or being in full control of your thoughts, but it is not. A very good analogy is standing on the curb and watching the cars pass by, where cars are your thoughts. As a simple task, try closing your eyes and just try not to think anything or focus on your breathing. You will notice that in the span of 5 minutes, your mind would have wandered off into different thoughts before you even realized or were aware of. This is not un-common; almost all of us would experience the same. Over the decades, we are trained to live our life, chasing future or pondering over the past. Ironically only thing that we have in our control is this “moment”, Past has already happened and future is unknown. Only thing that can have an impact on future is our actions taken in the present. Yet, we forget this and spend days, months, years clogging our mind with contemplations, analyses, worries and speculations.
Mindfulness is a form of meditation where we try and live the present, with a simple goal of “being aware”. Not a co-incidence that this very moment is called “present”. Mindfulness meditation is grounded on rational and scientific plane and now there are many studies and trials that have shown to have a significant impact on various issues like OCD, PTSD, Anxiety, Depression, etc.
Whatever maybe your goal, dedicating 10 minutes of your daily life to a formal practice of mindfulness meditation can greatly bring that mental peace and awareness.