Vol. 7 - The Mindful Issue
It seems like my life is full of one obstacle after another. Can you relate? Once a challenge is tackled, another seems to arise, and another, and another. To me it felt like life was happening to me instead of experiencing it to the fullest. And by exploring mindfulness and trying to understand why I felt the way that I felt, gave me back a piece of the experience. From the time up until then, I felt like I wasn’t in control. And I would be sent into fits of anger or sadness by things that, looking back now, seem mediocre or mundane.
However, at the time, those moments seemed so monumental. And once I started asking myself why I was so emotionally charged or why I felt a certain way did I begin to realize that those feelings were more often than not unfounded or easily changeable; but only if I was aware I was feeling them and that I could change them. There is an abundant amount of research indicating the benefits of mindfulness from improved quality of life, to increased focus and decreased stress. And mindfulness is simply a way to train your attention using your ordinary senses and perceptions; observing related feelings and thoughts. Why do I feel the way that I feel? From something as simple as tasting your coffee to waiting in line to buy groceries. How do you feel, but more importantly why do you feel what you feel. Are you in control of your feelings, your thoughts, or your emotions?
So if mindfulness has such favourable and worthwhile benefits, why is it so challenging to practice it more? Theories range from things like “people don’t like the feeling, especially if those feelings include something on the negative spectrum,” and therefore give up, based on their assumptions of mindfulness. Other experts say people don’t want to commit to the time.
But what if mindfulness was something so simple as even taking a few seconds to just pay attention, would you consider it? The truth is that sustaining happiness through mindful living is achievable. Instead of trying to follow another motivational quote like “live for the moment” try approaching mindfulness without trying to be mindful. Instead, simply practice taking notice. Whether you agree or not, studies from all over the world prove that people are often preprogrammed to believe what they believe. And that judgement was not conditioned and deep-rooted in our perception placed there by others, but as a survival instinct to detect if a person is either friend or foe. But since we’re living in a digital era where we are subject to constant bombardment by others’ beliefs often prejudiced, how do we differentiate between our own beliefs and that which we’ve been conditioned and programmed to believe? These are the bigger questions I often find asking myself, especially when trying to understand the rationale for my emotions.
Through mindfulness and meditation I’m able to make better choices and better decisions, and attain a faster way to peacefulness. And through learning more about mindfulness, I found that it is the precursor to emotional intelligence—a common trait of the greatest leaders. Our lives are a continuous succession of ups and downs, but for myself, stopping for a few seconds to just notice the sensation of my legs after walking, or the feeling of water on my face in a shower relinquishes control of time. And for a second, the clarity that comes from paying attention relieves my mind from the constant wandering of thoughts and beliefs that aren’t necessarily even my own.
The road of life isn’t straight and flat, simple and predictable. And when things like a global pandemic occur, we can be left in a vibration of thoughts that don’t benefit ourselves or anyone else. With accepting that life is a windy road and that things sometimes don’t work out the way I had hoped. I started asking myself how I can discern the origin and change negative feelings. I’ve come to understand that I have the power to make the present as good as it can be by having a positive attitude, and by being curious. I realized that I do not always know what is best for me, and that unfortunately, I can’t connect the dots until later on. But learning how to be present has had an incredible effect on my life, and has led me to question the nature of my thoughts. When I notice the way I feel, I begin to try and understand the cause of certain beliefs and emotions; and if rational thinking is inconsistent then I work to educate myself. Through that I am brought to a much more peaceful state, and I invite you to try it.