Mindfulness is a practice through which we become aware of our thoughts and gain the ability to become nonjudgmental as emotions, thoughts or experiences arise. Mindfulness gives us the ability to live our life in a moment-to-moment basis without allowing memories of the past or expectations of the future to affect the experience of what is happening right now.
As you focus your awareness on the present moment, you gain the ability to start recognizing and accepting your current state of being. As you recognize what is, you can recognize the thought patterns and actions that no longer serve you and make any changes you see fit. The moment you begin to acknowledge your feelings, your thoughts, and your bodies sensations, you may learn to accept the state you are in and become empowered to gain control of your thoughts, reactions and overall state of your life.
“When we get too caught up in the busyness of the world, we lose connection with one another – and ourselves” – Jack Kornfield
The ability you have to make your mind for you starts with awareness. As you learn to notice your emotional responses to the situations that you are faced with, you can learn to question your emotional responses before reacting to what comes up.
The first step to gaining awareness is to question why an emotional response has come up to begin with. As you ponder that, you can reflect on whether or not it serves you to have those emotions involved in the situation; the answer is usually no. For example, if someone cuts you off and that instigates a state of anger as a response…
Does it serve you to get angry?
Will getting angry change, improve or fix the situation?
When you can notice your responses to situations and the patterns they create, you can begin to improve the way we relate and associate with yourself and the world around you. Improving your mental awareness also will assist you in discovering ways to manage and/or decrease your stress, as you gain control of your responses and the situations you allow to affect you.
“You cannot control the results, only your actions” – Allan Lokos
Growth results from embarking on the journey towards removing, adapting, adopting or changing the conditions that you notice that are no longer serving you and stepping out of the habitual actions and responses you have created as habits. By becoming aware of the repetitive patterns, responses and mental scenarios that you default to, you can begin to purposefully refocus them into productive and positive thought patterns and actions.
Take notes of the times when you find yourself going down and unwanted mental path and take charge of whether it remains there or not. For example, I know that my mind tends to wander into unwanted places when I have long drives in my car (which happens every day). I prepare for that by having an audiobook ready to play the second I sit down. This now makes my driving time a purposeful time in which I am expanding my mind, instead of wasted time replaying the past or predicting the future.
“Mindfulness is a way of befriending ourselves and our experience” – Jon Kabat-Zinn
As you begin to learn to focus your thoughts you can begin to create a state of harmony within your mind. When your mind is in a state of harmony, your thoughts serve your purpose instead of holding you down or lowering your vibration. It is important to be clear on what it is that you want and are working for in your life, so that you have a main anchor for your thoughts to come back to when you find yourself going down an unwanted mental path. Those anchors can be affirmations, manifestations or visualizations that will assist in focusing your mind on manifesting your highest and most mindful self.