- the quality or state of being elegant, stylish, or upper-class
- quality or state of being conscious or aware of something
- a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.
Up until recently, if you were to mention “Mindfulness” in mixed company you were certain to get a few blank stares. The image most people had to the word “Mindfulness” was of people in weird yoga poses, hippies or even Buddhist monks on a mountain top. However, “Mindfulness” has become a very posh buzz word that everyone seems to be throwing around. This is both good and bad. It is good that people are become desensitized to the word so that mental walls are not thrown up to guard themselves against the perceived threat that the person using the word “mindfulness” is trying to get them to join a cult or about to offer them drugs. The bad side of its popularity and misuse is that, ironically, people are not being mindful of its meaning. There are resources that give the origins, concepts, and uses of the word “Mindfulness” https://positivepsychologyprogram.com/history-of-mindfulness/
Mindfulness is not some “highbrow” concept resigned to the ultra-spiritual but a simple act of noticing.
But what is Mindfulness really? It is simply being aware and present. The word may have a start date but I would venture to say the concept is as old as Adam and Eve. Adam and Eve had no worries or stress in their lives. They spent their days wandering around a beautiful garden and talking to God. I would assume every moment was intentional and in their awareness. They noticed each other, the flowers, the animals, the cool breeze, the sight, taste, and smell of their food…the tree they could not eat from…the serpent.
Mindfulness is not some “highbrow” concept resigned to the ultra-spiritual but a simple act of noticing. I once had a philosophy class with a young woman who said she had not literally “stopped to smell the roses” in years. She was even more embarrassed to admit that she had not even noticed the changing colors of the leaves of Fall even though it was the beginning of Winter. One by one almost everyone in the class admitted that they too had completely missed Fall. That is tragic but so easy to do if you are not careful. How many times have you ordered a meal to find yourself with an empty plate and no memory of if it was a good meal? My family will often notice other people and families who come in after us at a restaurant. They order, the cellphones come out, they eat and are gone before we have even eaten half of our meal. What a waste. Of food, of time, of money, of opportunities to connect not just with themselves but with their families.
Mindfulness takes the focus off of the surface and just reacting off of autopilot to engaging your whole self to connect not just to your environment, your feelings (physical and emotional) but to God Himself.
If you want to bring more “Mindfulness ” into your life but you do not know where to start and you are tempted to be overwhelmed by the concept of “Mindfulness”, stop and take a breath (literally). And just notice something, anything and realize you just practiced Mindfulness. Try doing this several times a day. Logically you might wander “how is this helping me?” Mindfulness is helping you by improving your overall wellbeing. It has a positive effect on your emotional, physical and spiritual health (for more information on the positive effects of mindfulness, go to our site Christspace.net). Mindfulness takes the focus off of the surface and just reacting off of autopilot to engaging your whole self to connect not just to your environment, your feelings (physical and emotional) but to God Himself. It takes a MINIMUM of 21 days to form a new habit and more realistically it takes two to eight months for it to become permanent. http://jamesclear.com/new-habit
Even though it can take time to build new habits, the effects of being more mindful can make a big difference in a short amount of time.
May your path be lit.
Heather has a B.S. in Psychology and is a certified Life Coach. She enjoys spending borderline unhealthy amounts of time with her husband and daughter, pondering God’s mysteries, movies, travel and may have a debilitating addiction to books and hot baths.