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Oh! Mindfulness

Is an elevated state of mind, where you bring undivided focus to any activity that you are doin now. As I reflect on this, I was distracted every time my phone beeped, also in the background I hear a bulbul’s screaming. I’m also thinking about my son and my wife. All at the same time? Is that even possible?

The short answer is no, itseems like we are multi-tasking but we are not usually applying our conscious mind, to every task we do. Our focus is divided between many tasks. When your glasses are fogged, the objects in front of you is not clear. You know that there is something in front of you, but you cannot see all the details. The same way, when our focus is divided, we don’t interpret the world clearly. Sometime, not being mindful can have some serious impact in our lives.

So let me mindfully reflect on what Mindfulness means It is an elevated state of mind, where the entirety of mind’s capabilities is used, to perform purposeful tasks in the moment. There are two major aspects of being Mindful — Awareness and Response.

The mind is processing the amalgamation of all the information received from all the senses of the body, this brings us awareness. With these information, we build the perception of our reality. With this perception, we take action, behave and respond as needed. The focus is always on the now, not thinking about the past or the future. When we bring about the right balance, we bring the mind and body to a state of equilibrium, a state of effortlessness.

Why aren’t we Mindful? When I first tried to be mindful, I thought it was just another overrated concepts. It did not seem to have any profound impact on me. So this is what I did, I sat down, closed my eyes and start paying attention to my sense and processed them in my head, it was no big deal, same things happened what normally happens. I wondered if I was doing something wrong, this is what I found out.

In the initial stages of practising Mindfulness, there is no big difference, because all our lives we have been receptive to only a small amount of information. Over time our brain is programmed to receive only so much information, hence no matter how much you try there is no much difference. While we discuss further on how we can practice being mindful, we need to understand why we don’t gather all the information available? Simply because we think it is not necessary. This is an evolutionary process, to help us make decisions faster, we had to ignore information that were unnecessary or irrelevant. We paid attention to everything that was required for our survival. As threat to our survival reduced, we paid less and less attention to things around us. We text while walking, we know there is no tiger on the road to hunt you down, we watch TV while we eat, as we don’t have the fear of eating a poisonous fruit and so on.

If we lived in a Jungle or in war zone, like most of our ancestors did, we would have heightened awareness. Our survival would have directly depended on how alert we were, how well we know our surrounding, how well we know our bodies etc. But there is no such threat for us in the modern times, so we slowly eased on our awareness. The awareness slowly reduces as a community starts settling down in safe places.

This is not the only reason for us not being mindful, but in my opinion, this is a major reason.

Mindfulness is an option? Since the first woman/man, walked the earth, the biggest challenge to the human mind and body was to avert threat, preserve the body and produce healthy offsprings. Thousands of years of evolution, of our mind and body, to perfect this art of survival.

Now, if you are reading this, you most probably don’t have to worry about survival. Suddenly, our biggest challenge, for which our mind and body was crafted for, doesn’t exist anymore. This leaves a huge void in us, we are not dancing between life and death anymore. Being Mindful was a natural state before (it is still a natural state, mostly for tribal communities still living on the edge), but for us, in cities and towns, being mindful is an option, you can still survive by not being mindful.

Is Mindfulness required today? When we are aware and take righteous actions, we can evolve as a being.

We have a sophisticated feedback mechanism expanding and growing. This is one of the reason why Humans are so evolved compared to other species on the planet. We have an internal feedback mechanism and our body and mind relies it to adapt and grow.

When you go running — say you run 5 kms today and you are mindful about your body and the terrain you are running on. After your run, you may feel you can run a little longer. The next day you run 10kms, but then you feel you need to strengthen more to run any further. There is a constant feedback mechanism, we need to pay attention to these signals from our body because if we dont we may either under achieve or over exert ourself. When we want to push ourself to the next level, we must consider being mindful. It helps us understand our capabilities and also define new possibilities — based on the feedback both internal and external.

Mindfulness is not only about survival, it helps us adapt, evolve and most importantly it helps us to experience a full-filling, satisfied frame of mind. It is a holistic approach to enhance our lives. It is timeless, we need to be mindful until the mind exists.

With the biggest challenge no more being survival, we can choose the next big challenge. You see, human beings are still an evolving species, we have come a long way but we can also go a long way. The key is to quickly find a challenge big enough to fill the void left by its predecessor.

Can we be Mindful?

In today’s world, we do a lot of transmission but a less of reception. To be more precise, we have a selective reception. When we bombard ourselves with only selective information, we deny ourselves from many other vital information. We are becoming enslaved to one or two senses — like we want to see or hear to interpret something, but our human mind is more powerful. We can smell danger, we can sense discomfort.

Mindfulness is not living in your head, but to wake up and live your real life. You do everything with awareness. Where your mind and body is active and alert,

Being mindful is about being completely receptive to our external and internal world. When we are receptive, we are more aware. Sometimes, that can be a difference between life and death.

There are some prerequisites to be mindful,

  • Stress can reduce the chances of being mindful, it is proven that many bodily functions are disrupted when we are under stress.

  • Distraction can make us loose focus on a current situation.

  • Misunderstanding about mindfulness itself — we have to understand mindfulness to use it in our lives. Understand the importance of Mindfulness in our lives.

  • Defining the purpose of an activity can help us be mindful

  • Openess towards reception — Be open to accepting new thoughts, ideas, sensations, because only when we receive we have a chance to know what that is.

How to be mindful?

  • Keep your focus in the present — Easy said than done, but this is key.

  • Avoid spending too much time on silly, trivial decisions on a day to day bases — What to wear, what to do, what others think and so on.

  • Always choose to be your best self — Make a decision once that you trust yourself and would practise virtuous actions always, so that you dont need to overthink all time about your actions and decisions.

  • Accept and love your life — Our lives are different, some might feel life has been unfair to them, this is a path to misery. Acceptance is the starting point towards healing.

Mindfulness seems to be overrated, for the ametuer but after some practice and if it is done correctly, it can life transforming.

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