Jon Kabat-Zinn, the author of Arriving at Your Own Door: 108 Lessons in Mindfulness, says “Mindfulness is moment to moment non-judgmental awareness, cultivated by paying attention.” But how do you accomplish that when your world is busy and loud? It can be hard at times–especially when you have four children of various ages demanding your attention at the same time! I experienced that last summer, and I wasn’t mindful at all.
In times when you are tired and stressed to the max as I was last summer, the best thing to do is stop whatever negative thoughts (like yelling) enter your mind. Then take a deep breath and center yourself. Listen–really listen to the problem at hand and then… give them all popsicles to keep them quiet! Just kidding. The best thing to do in a stressful situation is to stay in the present moment and calmly handle what is before you. Or as Indira Gandhi said: “You must learn to be still in the midst of activity and to be vibrantly alive in repose.”
Stay mindful by learning to feel connected to all that surrounds you. You do this by paying attention to nature and to the people around you. You forget about yourself and all your concerns and stay present in each moment you move into. In this union of mindful connection you become one with the universe and all negative thoughts of the past and fears of the future fade away. They cannot stay unless you nourish them. And as Reuben Lowe says of the past: “Without mindful awareness, the shadows of your past may haunt your present.”
It is important to bring yourself to mindfulness when you feel that life has beaten you down and you have lost your way. When that happens, your life is out of balance. The only way to get yourself back into balance is to bring yourself to the present moment and connect to something calming. For me it’s nature and silence. Whatever it is for you, just do it for your well-being.
When you are mindful, your connection to everything is so powerful that you realize you are part of something bigger than yourself. You are part of the universe and have a reason for being. And isn’t that what our lives are supposed to be about?