I recently heard someone talking about how mindfulness was a contradiction in terms because the definition he was using for mindfulness was that one ’empties’ their mind, there are no thoughts or feelings floating around up there. Therefore, to be ‘mind-full’ was contradicting what his definition of mindfulness was.
As with many situations in life, its in the definitions where we lose connection with each other and the ideas that we or the other are trying to share. If we are not defining things in the same way, can we be talking about the same things? Sometimes yes and sometimes nope.
I like to think of mindfulness as having our minds full of what is happening right now. How does my breath feel? What do my thoughts sound like? What’s going on for me right now? Can I be with all of this stimulation and information without judgement, without analyzing, just observing? My mind isn’t full of things that happened in the past or things that are to come, my mind is here with me, with my breath right now.
Here is an info-graphic to help with visualizing what mindfulness is about:
The idea of being in a state of clarity relaxes me just thinking that this state is possible! What fun it is to have clarity, to know what is going on, to be able to meet my needs when I know what my needs are. Mindfulness has helped me with this. If I am able to be with what is going on right now, rather than the stories I tell myself, the judgements, the anxieties, the fears, there is space for clarity and for figuring out what the needs of the moment are and how to have them met. Those moments of clarity are precious. I’d take clarity over a new dress ~most~days. 😉
Here is a video of Jon Kabat-Zinn, creator of the research-backed stress-reduction program Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), explaining how mindfulness lights up parts of our brains that aren’t normally activated when we’re mindlessly running on autopilot.