In our second part of how you could use mindfulness to clear a path between you and the present we look at the other benefits associated with the discipline.
1. It helps us get over ourselves
Within our culture, we spend a lot of time thinking about ourselves. Through the adoption of a mindful perspective, we're better able to recognize our commitments to and connections with the people around us. Particularly in an urban setting, we can't do it alone. We rely on others to make sure that we have electricity, running water, bin men, public transit options, etc. And, I'm willing to bet that you didn't make the shirt you're wearing.
2. It allows us greater flexibility in living
We become aware of the responsibility that we have over our actions and their alignment with our personal values. Rather than going through the world on "automatic pilot," we participate fully and genuinely in ways that allow us to exercise freedom over our actions in the present.
3. It can be done anytime, anywhere.
Whenever we like, we can tune into the Mindfulness Channel, which encourages us to become aware of what's around us and our innermost thoughts and feelings. The Zen monk for example, advises that we use our breathing as an anchor for mindfulness practice. As long as we're alive, we can focus on this omnipresent experience by focusing on the sensation in our nostrils as we inhale and exhale.
4. It feels nice(r).
Through practice, we become better aware of the pleasant and unpleasant experiences in life. Based on these insights, we can try to cultivate more pleasant experiences than positive ones. If I know that it feels uplifting to notice signs of spring, then I can be on the lookout for buds, birds, and blue skies.
Obviously, this does not always work nor do we always have such control. Sometimes, bad things happen or desired situations don't come to fruition. However, once we break free from our usual reactive programming, we can look at the situation objectively and decide what (if any) action to take in order to feel better. For example, if I feel disappointed by the lack of sunshine today, I can make a concerted effort to feel happier, rather than becoming mired in my bad mood. Pretty cool, huh?
See you soon
“Do thing’s your future self will thank you for.”
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