Updated: Jan 23, 2021
This Process of Life
One of my personal missions is to communicate that mindfulness is a practice that is a way of life. I don’t personally plan for mindfulness, arranging the perfect moment to glean self awareness. My approach doesn’t require you to have a degree, certificate, yoga mat, or a deep understanding of Eastern philosophies. If you're a human and you breathe, then you're good to go! For many of us, those aforementioned things can just amount to trappings. We can get caught up in the particulars of why we don’t practice mindful living when we focus on what we don’t know or the skill set we don’t have. We can find ourselves focusing on the lack instead of the basic truth of breath. It can be really challenging in the West, because in our little corner of the world we are just learning to incorporate mindfulness.
The West is obsessed with doing, being efficient, and crossing things off ‘to do’ lists. Maybe we even feel guilty for living the sweetness of doing nothing and taking care of ourselves. This is an especially interesting time now, which calls us to re-examine our values and relationships, and redetermine what is important to us on both a local and global scale. Now is a great time to tune in to your personal happiness, to ask questions of yourself and your relationships.
Relationships are front and center right now, and a lot of us are being called to do some deep personal work. It can be very overwhelming without a structure of some kind; that's where mindfulness comes in. The human mind thinks so many many thoughts in a single twenty-four hour period, and not all of them are useful or true! To live in an unaware state is to live an unexamined life from my point of view. First thing’s first though: how do I know I’m in a state of unawareness? Well, you're doing pretty well if you're asking! Personally, I don’t think of awareness in dualistic terms; I'm either aware or unaware; I either have the answers or I don’t; I have my stuff together or I don’t; I’m happy and life is great, or I’m unhappy and life sucks! There is no shortage of points of view in life, no shortage of opinions - your own or others’. For me, awareness is about existing equally in what is known and unknown at any given moment. I challenge myself to not grasp so tightly to what I think I know, leaving room for what is not known to reveal itself. Of course, that doesn't always work. Sometimes I'm so convinced that my thoughts are true that I deeply attach to them and create great suffering for myself. How many times have you experienced that state, only to realize you didn't have all the information you needed to form a more balanced opinion?
Mindfulness for me is that pause, that tiny voice from deep inside that whispers ‘is this true, is this true’? For me, that question is like an awesome fact-checker from the great beyond speaking to me! But, of course, it is actually my awareness challenging me to not believe everything I create. Although we're constantly searching for someone on the outside to validate our experience and say, ‘I see you’, life is fundamentally a private and personal experience; not a single other being can ever exist in your experience. Although we're always looking for someone to confirm our right to exist as we are, or to tell us we're worthy of their love and time, in essence this is a permission we can only grant ourselves. How do we grant this permission? By becoming quiet - so quiet that the only thing that exists in our reality is the sound of the breath. Following the sound of your breath serenades the body, heart, and mind to be calm...and in that calmness you will contact your right to exist.