They may seem like two very similar looking words but in fact represent two opposing concepts. The first is about simplifying, about being present, here, right now. To be mindful is to be very aware of the present moment. It is often when we come to a realisation that we are full to the brim and that our minds are literally "Full" that we recognise the need to free up some space, to gain some clarity, to step back. A Mindful approach to living is about developing the ability to observe our minds and recognise what we can do for ourselves to return to, or better still - to maintain a state of ease. So often we end up in a state of ill health (dis-ease) or exhaustion before we realise we've been doing too much. A Mindful existence is trying hard to use awareness to prevent that from happening. To recognise the warning signs and to consider what we may need to reclaim some space for ourselves. What you need will be different from the next person but can you ask yourself these four questions right now to tune in and get a sense of how you're doing in this moment:
- What is going on for me right now?
- How am I feeling?
- How does my body feel?
- Are there any thoughts I am aware of?
Then allow yourself a few deep inhalations and exhalations. Just this simple act of tuning in regularly throughout the day can really help to keep you on the mindful path and away from the one that can end in stress and anxiety. If you can notice those feelings arise, notice any tension in the body, notice whether the mind is frenetic or not - you can then do something about this. If you carry on in a state of full mind unawareness, then the problems can build up without you knowing about them.
So tune in my friend, get a sense of were you're at and then try and work out what you can do from there. Being present feels good - it really does.