While mindfulness seems to have its roots in Buddhism, its branches have spread across the world. The reason is simple – our world is in chaos. We all are confused, albeit at varying degrees. We are constantly stressed by the very busyness of life. We are always tense and in a rush. We are either fearful of the uncertain future or regretful of the unalterable past.
We spend the years ignoring the moments, don’t we? Where does the solution to this modern-day epidemic lie? In some coveted book? Or in some scientific drug? Well, it lies in the ancient art of mindfulness. This art is a practice that does teach us certain important lessons. Here are six of those.
1. Your Peace Begins With You
The ancient Stoics were among the strongest-willed humans to grace the face of this planet. The most popular among them happened to be Marcus Aurelius, the last of the five good Roman emperors. Sources tell us that these set of mortals were unfazed in the face of adversity. They could maintain incredible peace and equanimity despite the worst of challenges.
History abounds with such individuals who could maintain their mental peace irrespective of the outwardly conditions. When one studies their lives, it becomes evident that the roots to their calmness lie in mindfulness.
They were never too anxious about the distant future, and neither were they resentful of their pasts. They were aware of the present moment and battled challenges as they arrived. Their practice of mindfulness brought them more awareness of their thoughts. The power to choose your thoughts is a modern-day superpower. The realization – that you have the power to choose your thoughts if only you are mindful of them – could pave the path to mental peace.
2. Your Perspectives Color The World
George Bernard Shaw said, “You are the window through which you see the world.” You see the world not as it is, but as you are, don’t you? Happy people see the world as a happy place. Individuals with violent tendencies tend to view violence as a way of the world. Becoming a happier, better, calmer person is the key to making the world the same. How you see matters. And how can you get to know of the way you see the world? Mindfulness.
Focusing on the present moment allows you to look inwards. It forces you to question your perspectives. It pushes you to alter your inner self for the better. As your inner self and your perspectives improve, so does the outer world.
3. A Still Mind Can Accomplish More
Did you ever find yourself in the middle of an important project where your mind ended up darting in a dozen different directions? Well, how long did you take to finish the assignment? You know the answer.
Striving to live in the present moment forces you to focus on nothing else but the task at hand. It channelizes your mental energies in one direction. This way, you tend to accomplish a lot more in much less time.
You live in a world that is constantly vying for your attention. Your distraction is the most priced currency of this attention economy. The result? We see more and more people working harder and longer but with little to show for.
“Our life is shaped by our mind, for we become what we think.” – Buddha
4. Awareness Is Everything
Most of us sleepwalk through life. We are totally unaware of what we feed our bodies or brains with. We are constantly living in the future or the past and tend to be completely oblivious to what we are doing to ourselves in the present moment.
Being aware of our moment-to-moment choices and habits is the only way to a better future. Your life, until now, is an accumulation of an innumerable number of present moments. What you do from this moment onwards, in the present, will alone decide where you end up in the future. One must be aware of their habits to acknowledge them as being good or bad. That is the first step to improving upon good habits or changing bad habits.
5. You Are More Creative Than You Think
Did you ever spend hours wrestling a problem in vain, only to find the solution come out of nowhere when you shifted your focus to something else? We often get anxious about the future repercussions while attempting to find a solution to a problem – and this blocks our creative energies. But mindfulness allows us to look at a problem objectively, enabling us to find a better solution. Mindfulness empowers you to think differently and figure out different ways to overcome a particular challenge. It keeps you from fretting about something bad that may or may not happen in the future.
6. Self-Acceptance Is Critical
While the desire to improve is important, it must never involve excess self-criticism. Most of us tend to compare ourselves with others and develop feelings of inferiority, which invariably thrust brakes on our betterment. Mindfulness allows you to focus on your strengths, which helps boost your self-esteem and a sense of self-worth. When you feel better about yourself and love yourself, you are more likely to focus on yourself and improve as a human being.
Mindfulness is a lifelong pursuit. It can promote your physical, mental, and emotional well-being. While the path is not easy, it definitely is worth it. The journey will teach you a lot of life lessons that could prove transformational. You can start with consciously practicing mindfulness for five minutes a day before you gradually increase the duration. With consistency, you should be able to live the life of your dreams.
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