Mindfulness is the state of being consciously aware and fully present in our everyday life. Its when we refrain from judgment and reacting irrationally to our environment. Through mindfulness, we bring awareness to our thoughts, emotions, and physical wellbeing. When we are mindful, we exemplify resilience and strength, guiding us through times of perceived mayhem.
There are seven attributes of mindfulness: beginner’s mind, acceptance, trust, patience, non-striving, letting go, and non-judgment.
Beginner’s mind encourages us to remain open to trying new things. Remaining apprehensive about new experiences leaves us closed off and isolated. As a result, we continue in the same routine, unable to fortify our full potential through new experiences. A beginner’s mind promotes innovativeness. Every opportunity, whether new or old, has the potential for self-advancement.
During a time of hardship, people who accept things for what they are and trust the process, transition away from self-deception, and shift towards proactive coping. Doing this coincides with a growth mindset and failing forward. Instead of viewing a bad situation as a defining measurement of our fixed ability, we see the case as an opportunity for progression. Too often do we find ourselves living our life in the future. We painfully desire situations to present themselves in a way we would like them to be instead of accepting the reality of what is—facing the facts takes courage and self-honesty. Therefore it’s essential to have faith in something bigger than you. And trust that any uncertainty you have will disentangle itself over time.
Patience is key. Without patience, we fall into the trap of self-despair. Many aspects of our life are out of our control. So why not enjoy the experiences as they present themselves and ride the wave of the unknown. Society encourages us to act in a high-achieving matter, with little to no room for failure. Many people become so consumed with chasing their dream they unknowingly pass up blessings set in place for them. Impatience leads to anxiety and the fear of failing—a fear of being perceived as insufficient or unworthy. So take a step back and live every moment in the moment. What is intended in your life will come at the right time, a time that may or may not align with your schedule.
But how do we live every moment in the moment? Especially when we are too preoccupied with our fixed expectations. When we strive, we are making great efforts to achieve or obtain something or to struggle or fight vigorously. The outcome suddenly becomes more important than the experience. And the outcome subconsciously crafted so precisely sets us up for disappointment. Consider how many times you’ve overlooked your achievements because they did not resemble this preconceived notion of success, fortune, etc. Success, happiness, fortune, all these things are subjective.
The opposite of striving is striding. When we stride, we walk with long, decisive steps in a specific direction. When we stride through our life, we are more self-aware, intentional, and patient. We are no longer moving at an unsustainable rate. Our current position and who we are is enough. And we can acknowledge this by continually taking the time to learn from our inner experiences.
Many things holding us back are not physical objects, but the grueling and opposing nature of our mind. We tend to dwell and hold onto specific thoughts and situations; this becomes taxing and disconsolate in our everyday life. The opposite of this behavior is avoidance. We avoid dealing with adverse problems and feelings. And instead, push them away in an attempt to protect ourselves. But the problem is we can never move on from difficulties when we refuse to deal with them. These issues still affect us subconsciously.
So what’s the alternative? Letting go. Letting go is a process of letting things be, holding on to them lightly, and giving notice to them sparingly. Grasping tightly onto situations, whether good or bad, prevents us from openly accepting new conditions and emotions into our life. We create this disillusion of our present state because we are too wrapped up in the past. So instead, hold onto things lightly. Be aware of your inner experiences. Be with them, tackle them, and press forward.
Our perceptions feed into our thoughts and behaviors. The world in which we see may be far different from how someone else views the world. Implicit biases play a significant role in how we interpret certain situations. Even our mood, attitude, and past experiences have a way of shaping the way we interact with our environment.
At any given moment, we may unknowingly be in a state of judgment. For example, say we observe someone recklessly driving on the freeway. Our initial interpretation is that this person is careless and dangerous. But, in reality, do we truly know why they were speeding? No. They may be on their way to the hospital. A family member just had a tragic accident and was rushed into emergency surgery. Does this justify speeding? By law, no. But it completely changes the narrative of the situation. Perception errors occur every day. Non-judging is a way to overcome this. When we take in stimulus, we must take a brief moment to analyze and understand it before responding. When you are aware of your thoughts, you hold power and control over whether to respond to them or not.
Take some time to become more present this week. Each day make a conscious decision to understand your inner thoughts. Take a second to process before responding to stimuli. And in times of mayhem, accept what is, recenter, and trust the process.
To start your mindfulness journey check out my post on how to practice gratitude everyday here.