“There is no enlightenment outside of daily life.”
― Thich Nhat Hạnh
Good morning! I hope you enjoyed a terrific weekend! I'm excited to share an insightful article with you today about "mindfulness," by a wonderful author and long-time columnist at SoulfulLiving.com, KD Farris, Ph.D.
KD is a speaker, counselor, and healer. She is also the author of the book, MESHE, HESHE, MISON & ORBIT and has been teaching workshops based on the topic of her book for over twenty years.
I hope you enjoy her article! ♥
"Mindfulness: A Receiving Mind"
By KD Farris, Ph.D.
Mindfulness is a common concept in the practice of yoga and meditation, which are becoming more and more commonplace in contemporary Western life.
But what does the term mindful meditation really mean? Better yet, what does it mean to us in our day-to-day lives?
Think of mindfulness as being full of mind, but without the chattering of extemporaneous thoughts. Our minds are constantly at work – judging, planning, and narrating everything we are exposed to – from the moment we wake until the very instant we fall asleep. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Consider the liberation of an uncluttered mind!
So, what does it mean to have mind awareness, to have awareness of mind, yet not be thinking? To have mind awareness – awareness of mind – is to free ourselves of the never-ending flow of unconscious chatter.
But how do we get there? As in all things, it takes practice.
Your brain is a transmitter. So, if you begin to understand your thinking mind — the judging, planning, narrating voice in your head — as sending information to you, what would it be like for your mind to be receiving information instead?
One of my early spiritual teachers used to say, ‘concentrate to send, relax to receive.’ If you can truly relax, you will usually fall asleep. But if you are mindful within your relaxation, you can give attention — without comment — to your perceptions.
Perceptions are only possible because you are receiving the information. So what would it mean to have a receiving mind? It would mean a mind full of understanding. But, not just any understanding — perception without judgment or criticism. Perception that is accepted, noted, and cared for. Perception that is nurtured and given a good home. Such perception does not need to be corrected or controlled. It simply is.
Therefore, to be truly mindful, or to achieve real mind awareness, is to understand and perceive your thoughts without commentary.
Human beings are naturally judgmental. And our mind’s constant commentary is almost always an extreme evaluation, often unconsciously judging another person superior or inferior upon meeting them, for example. With such extreme assessments, our thinking mind holds a position of polarity. We pit the best against the worst, and we do it even with ourselves; especially with ourselves. We pit what we’ve done, which is not good enough, against what we should have done, which is better.
But if we are mindful of our inner critic, we take note of the judge’s activity without buying the goods, so to speak. We become non-judgmental, accepting of our own thoughts and perceptions.
The thinker is thinking. The judge is judging. The planner is planning. Mindfulness is simply noticing. For every instance we notice, we are not judging. We take note of the judge; we watch the thinker at work; but we are no longer thinking. We have become a witness to the thinking.
As a witness, we are one step removed from the doing. And with this tiny disengagement, we have created vast opportunities for ourselves and our enlightenment. Opportunity for a deeper breath, a longer pause; the chance to look around, taste the air, feel our bodies, laugh at ourselves. We really can stop and smell the roses.
We find the opportunity to question what we’re thinking, what we’re judging, who we are being, within our own minds.
From this place of noticing our thinking, we can experience gentleness. Mindfulness is the gentle, consistent attention upon not only your thoughts but your experiences. Mindfulness is the moment you awaken within…
Copyright KD Farris, Ph.D. All Rights Reserved.
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Wishing you a mindful day!