Why we all should practice mindfulness: The quality of your mind determines the quality of you life.
The quality of your mind determines the quality of your life. The mind is the basis of everything you experience in life and every contribution you make – given this fact, it makes sense to train it.
When everything in our life is fine, we are still so often consumed with stress, thinking about all the things on our ‘to-do’ list or things wish we had not done. With this we spend very little time truly content and focused in the moment.
Until you have some capacity to be mindful, you have no choice but to be lost in every next thought that arises. And these thoughts can then control you, your mood and your decision making.
Instead, we can train the mind and learn how to respond to the world, as this is as good as changing the world. You can try to change the world, and try to never get sick or injured, or face stress or embarrassment or self-doubt, however this will always be there.
But there is another game to play, you can look more closely at what you are doing with your own mind and cease to respond to life in ways that produce needless suffering to yourself. Mindfulness will not prevent you ever getting angry again, but once you understand it and know how to use it, you can learn not to stay angry, or fearful or embarrassed. The way we respond to a stimulus is often a big determinant of stress, not the stimulus itself.
I personally use Sam Harris’ ‘Waking Up Course’ for my own guided mindfulness and meditation, thus a lot of this blog has been influenced by Sam himself. Though I use Sam Harris’, there are many guided mindfulness lessons they may suit you better; on YouTube, in your app store or accredited practitioners that can guide you through. Alternatively, you may not need a guided mindfulness, once you learn it and understand it, you can take several moments throughout your day to be mindful, as this is the goal of becoming mindful – to use it throughout your day to day life.
I understand at face value, the idea of mindfulness sounds like a fluffy term – and consequently can be viewed as an exercise that lacks depth, if you have never practiced. How
ever, I view this like someone who may have grown up and spent their whole life in a busy city. At night-time who has only ever seen light pollution and has never seen the country night sky, lit up with stars. You may know there are stars out there, you may have seen photos on the internet of a night sky, but without witnessing the country night sky first hand, it is hard to appreciate how spectacular the feeling is. This is similar to mindfulness, if you have never taken the time to practice it and understand it, you have no choice but to be lost in every next thought that arises.
At the end of the day, every feeling we experience or thought we have, appears in our mind, in consciousness. Whether you have feelings of happiness, anxiety, struggling - no matter how extreme these feelings are, are in fact mental events.
I believe everyone should practice mindfulness, in one way or another (note: there are many ways to practice mindfulness, if one does not suit you, do not throw the bay out with the bathwater, try another). If you would like a free month of Sam Harris’ Waking Up Course, please get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will be happy to organise this for you.