Have you ever heard the phrase “be mindful of…”? Mindfulness does not mean “being full of your mind.” It means being aware, being observant, being a witness to your thoughts and feelings.
Most people live in the there-and-then: we harbor past thoughts about heartache or perceived wrongdoings on others’ parts. We might beat ourselves up over missed opportunities or harsh spoken words. Conversely, we might wrack our minds with anxiety, consumed by what-if scenarios and fear about future events.
Mindfulness is a practice many of us have a glimpse of: when we get into a flow or rhythm, such as running, dancing, deep breathing, meditating, reading, writing, or in conversation. What makes these situations joyful is that we are literally “out of our minds.” We are present, we are open, and we are not thinking. We are being. When we allow ourselves to be, we are mindful.
By observing our thoughts and feelings, we become better at consciously setting our stories aside. Our stories are our past experiences, our worries about the future, doubts, expectations, assumptions, fears, etc. – essentially, anything our mind uses to take us away from the current, present moment of now.
We have the power to acknowledge our current experience and come from a place of create, instead of re-create. When we create, we are proactive and conscious. When we re-create, we are reactive and often perpetuate misery. Each present moment gifts us an opportunity to choose: to choose our thoughts and feelings and to be a witness to those thoughts and feelings. We choose to set our stories aside so we don’t re-create our past into our future. We embrace the opportunity to move out of life’s riddled details that constantly consume us. We can choose to live in the here-and-now, where joy, peace, stillness, and radiance glow.
(For a more thorough understanding of the here-and-now and how to cultivate a practice of presence, I highly recommend reading The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle).