We’ve discussed mindful awareness a good deal. Today, let’s talk about being mindful on its own. At its heart, mindfulness is being observant of what we’re doing, feeling, touching, interacting with in the present moment.
Now, I want to bring something to light we haven’t touched on yet. When you’re being mindful, you’re not saying to yourself, “Well, I’m typing. The keys feel cool and slick. I’m breathing deeply.”
It’s important—even critical to remember: when you’re being mindful, you’re completely aware of what you’re doing in the present moment, but you’re not analyzing your actions, your existence. You’re observing.
A critical element of mindfulness is observation. You’re both observer and observed. Now, you aren’t running on autopilot; you’re still accomplishing things. You are not, however, judging anything you’re doing, thinking, feeling.
When any thoughts arise, observe them, but don’t hold onto them. Release them. Let them go. So many times in life we are so consumed with all that we must do in order to just get by, we forget to live. How do we even know we’re really alive?
Start with observation.
I can’t help emphasize enough: your breathing is so important to this. Your lungs, your nose, your entire pulmonary system joins the core of your body. Your lungs are responsible for taking in air from the outside world and transferring into the innermost recesses of your blood stream.
Thus, the lungs act as an interface between the outside world and you. When you breathe deeply, you help that system to work at peak efficiency, and if you’ll let me stretch the analogy, observation and mindful awareness are a form of mental interface between you and the outside world, just the same.
Breathe and observe the sensations from your body; do more than just notice. Pay attention to the feelings coming from your body, the sensations arising from within your body, the powerful and steady beat of your heart, and the metronome of your breath. Let that metronome become the pulse for your mindfulness.
Think of your breathing as waves continually washing ashore.
One item of caution here: don’t be concerned if your mind wanders away and your breathing falls out of sync. Don’t judge yourself as inept, just get back to it! You’ll soon see the benefits of mindfulness in everything you do.