The Heart of Mindfulness is All in Your Approach

Photo courtesy of Klearchos Kapoutsis

The goal of this week’s Mindful Monday post is simple: we’re going back to the basics.

Many, many times, even the most dedicated person can lose sight of his or her goal(s) of living mindfully, making it easy to slip back into a harried, stress-filled way of living. Let’s make sure that doesn’t happen to us by taking the time now to review some basic mindfulness concepts.

While mindfulness is at the heart of Buddhist meditation, it has nothing to do with Buddhism and everything to do with paying attention. The words for mind and heart are essentially the same in many Asian languages.

Mindfulness = Heartfulness

Heartfulness is the act of showing your mind and body affection by paying attention to the moments of your life on purpose, in the now, and without judgment.

Some people get mindfulness and awareness confused.

For example – being aware that you are eating is not the same as eating mindfully. Many people eat while talking, texting, watching television, reading, or a myriad of other distracting actions.  On some level, you are ‘aware’ that food is going into your mouth, but you will never fully connect with the experience unless you are mindfully paying attention to all of the sensations involved in eating and your reactions to them.

That concept carries through to everything you do in your life: shopping, sight-seeing, interacting with your children, having conversations, seeing a play, taking a drive, even sitting still in the silence of your living room!

It’s the attitude you have when approaching activities that will make all the difference in how deeply you connect with them. Through practicing regular mindfulness, you’ll be able to live a much more fulfilling, happy life. Let’s review the key attitudes of mindfulness:

Kindness toward yourself as you become more aware of your thoughts and reactions
Acceptance of how you feel, right now
Curiosity about your feelings toward everything that you experience
Patience for expert mindfulness to develop
Go with the flow of your reactions to everything you are experiencing. Don’t force anything.
Trust your mind and your inner strength to guide you toward a more enlightened life.
Non-judging attitude toward good or bad experiences – simply observe.
Non-striving approach to every moment -rather than look forward to a future moment, stay in this moment and allow it to completely unfold for what it is.
Open-mindedness - Everything that you encounter has so many possibilities as long as you are open to them.

If it seems like too much to tackle all at once, try to adopt one of the above attitudes into your life at a time until you feel you have mastered it.  Then you can progressively practice all of the mindful attitudes, one by one.  Believe me, you WILL feel your reactions to life begin to shift in a very positive direction.

Next week’s Mindful Monday will be dedicated to reviewing the steps to successful Mindful Meditation.



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