Contemporary Research on Mindfulness and Medtation 

The interest in mindfulness has certainly grown in popularity over the last decade; however, this has come with some aspect of "hype" possibly outpacing a basic embodied understanding of what "it" truly is. Most folks equate mindfulness with the practice of meditation. While meditation is an aspect of mindfulness, or more so an exercise in training your awareness, there are many other ways to practice mindfulness and ways to integrate the philosophy and practice into your life. Other's might also equate mindfulness with a continual state of bliss or the "living the best life" Instagram programing. Unfortunately, this image falls short of being truly authentic as mindfulness is really more about accepting and working with ourselves as we are, the sum of all of our experiences, the good, the bad, the difficult, the struggles, the wounds, the shadows of our being, as well as the light and the joys, the wins, the places in between, the rose and the thorn, and the many aspects of what it is to simply be a human living in this day in time. In essence, mindfulness is a lifestyle and practice, an attitude, a way of being, and most importantly a conscious choice. It is liberating, revealing, supportive and empowering. 

Defining mindfulness is multifaceted. If you want one word that defines mindfulness it would be Awareness. Okay, two... Conscious awareness. Mindfulness has to do with our awareness, our attention, our consciousness and it is a state of being aware of these extremely precious aspects of our being. It involves our awareness of our thoughts, our feelings, our body, and all the sensations that we are privy to as living human beings, while using our breath as an anchor to be more gorunded in the present moment. It allows a space for us to experience and observe all these dynamics, from a place of curiosity, non-judgment, and compassion. As this ability is strengthened, we can develop greater voluntarily control our mental processes, be less reactive and more responsible to our feelings, and also work with our body as the physical container for all of these experiences that are happening for and within us.

Mindfulness

Conscious Awareness of... 

Thoughts

Feelings

Sensory Sensations

Body

Breath

Present Moment

Mindfulness of Thoughts: As we learn to quiet the mind and the body, to allow spaciousness and ease within us, we can begin to explore and understand the patterns that often drive us, in a much deeper, non-judgmental way. We can begin to let go and grow less attached to the myriad of distractions around us and within us, leading to a deeper understanding of ourselves, reducing stress, and cultivating a more balanced approach to living."

Mindfulness of Feelings: As we learn to quiet the mind and the body, to allow spaciousness and ease within us, we can begin to explore and understand the patterns that often drive us, in a much deeper, non-judgmental way. We can begin to let go and grow less attached to the myriad of distractions around us and within us, leading to a deeper understanding of ourselves, reducing stress, and cultivating a more balanced approach to living."

Mindfulness of Feelings: As we learn to quiet the mind and the body, to allow spaciousness and ease within us, we can begin to explore and understand the patterns that often drive us, in a much deeper, non-judgmental way. We can begin to let go and grow less attached to the myriad of distractions around us and within us, leading to a deeper understanding of ourselves, reducing stress, and cultivating a more balanced approach to living."

Mindfulness of Feelings: As we learn to quiet the mind and the body, to allow spaciousness and ease within us, we can begin to explore and understand the patterns that often drive us, in a much deeper, non-judgmental way. We can begin to let go and grow less attached to the myriad of distractions around us and within us, leading to a deeper understanding of ourselves, reducing stress, and cultivating a more balanced approach to living."

Mindfulness of Feelings: As we learn to quiet the mind and the body, to allow spaciousness and ease within us, we can begin to explore and understand the patterns that often drive us, in a much deeper, non-judgmental way. We can begin to let go and grow less attached to the myriad of distractions around us and within us, leading to a deeper understanding of ourselves, reducing stress, and cultivating a more balanced approach to living."

Mindfulness of Feelings: As we learn to quiet the mind and the body, to allow spaciousness and ease within us, we can begin to explore and understand the patterns that often drive us, in a much deeper, non-judgmental way. We can begin to let go and grow less attached to the myriad of distractions around us and within us, leading to a deeper understanding of ourselves, reducing stress, and cultivating a more balanced approach to living."

Although we all have this innate ability, it often takes learning certain skills and practices to increase our ability to be mindful and get out of our own way.We all have the ability to be mindfull. It is within reach.  Maybe some of us have forgotten. And that okay. But we can choose to remember and we can choose to be consciously aware of ourselves and life. Why else would we be here? 

While explaining mindfulness, I often note that its' practice is a journey rather than a specific destination. As you start practicing mindfulness you will find the fruits of this practice blossom over time and reoccur. With each experience and glimmer of insight, you start to learn more and more what mindfulness actually means, what it feels like, and how you can use it to enhance your overall level of well being and navigate your life more effectively. You get to see how you particularly process and perceive information, what your tendencies habits, and your reactions. Again, this is done from a place of non-judgment. And with this knowledge, there is a sense of empowerment that takes place as well as a sense of freedom, because now you have a choice. You can react or respond. Typically, folks find that they start desiring to be more consciously aware and intentional in other aspects of their lives. For instance, relationships, communication, consumption of products or media usage, diet, health, self-care practices, and spirituality tend to be impacted. Furthermore, states, feelings, and experiences related to compassion, non-judgment, equanimity, and acceptance tend to come to the forefront. 

I will say mindfulness can be a challenge, and it takes time, dedication, and effort, which does get easier over time. However, it is important to note that "traditional society"hasn't exactly taught us how to be more mindful. In fact, it seems like there are more opportunities that serve to distract us, lure and seduce our attention away, promote suppression or denial of our feelings, keep us disconnected from our bodies, keep us "unconscious" and "just trying to survive" the general trap of living on autopilot, day after day. But my hope is that this is changing. More and more people are deciding to opt-out of this lifestyle and pursue a more conscious, well, meaningful, and free existence.

Offering

I have provided some resources for you below to assist you start integrating a more mindful lifestyle.

Please free free to check them out. Take your time with the practice and  try to approach them with the spirit of curiosity and non-judgment. Nothing is right or wrong in the mindfulness world. Do what feels good to you and you can adapt your practice over time. 

Mindful Noticing Meditation

Download as MP3

Mindful Noticing Meditation

Trauma-Sensitive Mindfulness