It’s fairly easy to call ourselves mindful and intentional, but what we don’t realize is that these words take work. Mindfulness is a skillful practice that requires a lot of uncomfortable inward looking at our reactions and relationships towards things and people. What I mean by this is that we are usually to distracted in our lives, our attention spans too short, and our focus too centered on ourselves to truly be attentive to the present.
Mindfulness becomes a diluted word.
We can deepen what it means to be mindful by applying deeper attention into our moments. The beautiful thing about this is it’s available to us to practice every second of our day. We can always restart our attention at any moment. The distractions are part of the practice, part of developing rooted mindfulness.
My meditation teacher used to say to me, “It can be a lot easier to move the body than to sit with our minds.”
The practice of mindfulness is much, much deeper than noticing you’re hungry or choosing a reusable bottle instead of a disposable one. Those are nice things, but mindfulness requires us to pay attention to our moments in a way we probably have not before.
Mindfulness needs wisdom and discernment. I say often the earth needs our deep attention. By paying attention deeply, by attending to our moments without our stories, reactions, and judgments - we reshape our habits and reactions to things. It’s not easy, it’s actually hard. Luckily, it doesn’t take anything outside of yourself, it just takes the moment you are in right now. However, that moment looks.
Mindfulness isn’t a glamorous thing. It’s raw and messy. It’s seeing our sadness, loneliness, happiness, grief, contentment, frustration, and everything in between just as it is. There’s a lot more to all this, but to truly attend to the moments we are in right now we have to first turn the mirror on ourselves and that’s not always something that we want to do.
Mindfulness is easy to say, but I’ve realized it’s much harder to implement. It’s not simply noticing something. It’s a combination of deep listening, concentration, and quietness in our being. It’s being able to see yourself in others. It’s empathy mixed with suffering, mixed with curiosity and joy. It’s witnessing with our wisdom and compassion. Go outside. Look out your window. Notice. Listen. Watch. Feel. If you’re distracted by something else, just go back to what you were noticing even if you get distracted over and over. Distractions are an important part of a practice.