Being Focused, Calm and Able to Carry on
Mindfulness is an innate concept—it comes naturally to us humans. And though it’s only something we can cultivate within ourselves, there are always people in our lives (teachers, parents, etc.) who remind us to be mindful as if it were something we were taught.
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When we were young, we were told to be mindful of our actions or to mind someone’s authority (like a babysitter). Does anyone tell us what that means? No. But it’s said to us as if we already know what it means and we’re just being reminded, because mindfulness is an instinctive, intuitive state of awareness—a state of being. Even though there are a thousand things that may distract us, cloud our thinking or fill our minds, just the suggestion to be mindful can be enough to switch our minds into a place where all the cluttered thinking ceases and we’re able to just be in the moment.
Remind Me Again
According to a site called mindfulness.org, mindfulness is: “… the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not be overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.” It may seem silly that we need to be reminded to be present when it’s something that we already know, but it seems to be some sort of switch that gets dimmed and we have to keep turning it back up.
An Age of Technology and Spiritual Awakening
And in this age of information and technology that bombards us moment by moment with new discoveries and where we can be distracted or even consumed by a labyrinth of stress-inducing situations, we find ourselves also in an age of spiritual awareness and awakening. This has created the need for courses, articles and information out there that teach us (or remind us) how to be mindful. Even universities like UCLA and Stanford have centers whose sole purpose focuses on mindfulness and cultivating awareness. It would appear that the further we expand in worldly “accomplishments,” the more we need to be reminded to stay grounded and focused.
What Mindful Thinking Can do to Enhance Our Lives
Being in the world requires awareness; surviving in it requires mindfulness. Being focused is a form of meditation, and meditation is said to expand the mind. Mindfulness is also a clue into the belief that we, as humans, are capable of so much more than we know. It is said that humans only use 10% of their brains, leaving us to wonder what else we’re capable of. What could we accomplish by tapping into the power of that other 90%? Mindfulness is like a program that constantly runs in the background of our super-brains. And when we need to turn it up, we increase focus and intensity on a specific moment in time, but we don’t get consumed by it and let it override us. So, if that’s true then being mindful or focused on something so intently may have wide-reaching possibilities.
We can overcome obstacles like bad habits and even use our mindfulness to manage the distractions of pain or assist in healing our bodies. We can use it to let go of grudges, to free ourselves of anxiousness and worry. The possibilities seem infinite. And that’s all with only using 10% of what the mind is capable of.
Mindfulness Enhances Our Existence
The act of being mindful is relevant to all of us and not just in this super age of information. It’s entirely possible to imagine that even a man living out in the wilderness in the middle of the 1800s had to be mindful of his surroundings a good part of the time. Weather, wild animals and predators were all things he would need to be constantly aware of, and he would need to keep calm in the face of whatever came his way—he did it to survive.
In a way modern mindfulness is the same. Maybe we’re not worried about wild animals walking through our subways and subdivisions but we have our own situations where being mindful is important for our well-being. Mindfulness is like a tool that can enhance every part of our existence, helping us to focus on important matters while also remaining calm, cool and collected.