Photo by Lesly B. Juarez

What is mindfulness

There are many definitions of mindfulness, but in essence they all boil down to being aware of what is happening in the present moment. Being aware of what is happening in our internal world of thoughts, feelings, emotions, bodily sensations. And also being aware of what is happening in the outside world. What we see, hear and notice in the here and now.

This doesn’t sound very exiting you might think. After all, we all are aware of these things regularly. Nothing special about that.

But have you noticed that most often, right after becoming aware of something, our mind takes over? Usually the mind starts interpreting, judging, pondering, worrying, planning, etc. And off we go, away from the present moment and back into a thought pattern that is not always serving us. Or others for that matter.

To be honest, how many brilliant decisions have come from worrying? How open is our mind when we are caught up in judgemental thoughts? And I don’t know about you, but my most creative thoughts just came out of the blue, when I wasn’t busy analysing things.

Even though being mindful is super easy and we all are aware of the present moment several times a day, it takes practice to be mindful at will. To return to simple awareness when we are caught up in a stream of thoughts. Especially when there are strong powerful processes going on that convince us why we can’t be mindful right now. These pocesses will say things like: “I will return to the present moment as soon as I have figured this out.” Or: “As soon as I am safe again” (when worrying), or “As soon as I have done this and this and that”. We are very addicted to thinking, analysing. Thinking and analysing won’t go away and aren’t “forbidden” when practicing mindfulness. However the capacity to relax and slow down the thinking process by paying attention to the present moment is a skill that will help you get out of negative spirals and into a more creative mode.

Have a look at this short animation that explains mindfulness.

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