is unquestionably one of the most pivotal and at the same time unknown concepts in our existence. It’s the golden key that hangs above each of our heads with the power to unlock and break us free from the chains imprisoning our consciousness’. But sadly so few of us ever notice it hanging there.
Actually, you’ve used the key before, you were just likely unaware of its power.
Any time a devilish thought enters your mind, but you let it pass away because either you disagree with it morally or know the consequences of acting upon it would be too grave, that was Mindfulness.
As discussed in the last post, recall the Blank Slate. Mindfulness is the Blank Slate’s defense against the alien invaders of our logic and emotion. It is the sturdy shield the Blank Slate wields to bounce off the thoughts that fly at us throughout the day.
In practice, successful Mindfulness works as follows:
You wake up for work and get into the shower. As you wash yourself, you’re too tired to even think. Then, as you begin waking up, the first thought of the day occurs: “Damn work is gonna’ suck today with that incompetent new jerk. And it’s only a Tuesday.”
But then you stop. You’ve just noticed this negative thought. Before, you had no control over the thought, much like the involuntary muscles in the body that keep your heart beating. This negative concern entered without you even giving it permission to do so, as do most of the thoughts that run around in our minds.
But because of your ability to perceive these coming and going thoughts (Mindfulness), you have a choice whether or not to deeply internalize them, or, let them pass by out of your mind. You have a choice to really get depressed about how much work is going to suck today. Or, like a river, you can take the pollutant down stream and out of sight.
Does the thought then magically die in an instant once you’ve made the conscious choice to ignore it? If you’re a Buddhist Monk maybe. But you’d be surprised how fast a thought dies away if you just let it.
That is successful Mindfulness in practice. While described “on paper” it may seem somewhat elementary, in consistent application it is extremely difficult.
Could you successfully stay Mindful the entire day? Having full perception of every thought that entered your mind, and then choosing what to really internalize and give attention to, and at the same time what to let go and get rid of?
I sure can’t. Yet…
Maybe if we could all sit on a rock on the top of a mountain all day we could. But that’s not the world we live in.
Does this mean absolute Mindfulness in our 21st century lifestyle is impossible? Of course not. It’s 100% possible. But it takes a lot of mental focus and commitment.
Though somewhat daunting, I cannot recommend highly enough that you at least try a few times a day to practice Mindfulness. You’ll be shocked at how much it can improve your life, even if it’s only for a few moments. After you truly experience it, you’ll wonder how you never noticed this golden key dangling above your head.
In the next post I will explore strategies for practicing full and complete Mindfulness.