Mindfulness means being aware of what is happening now in this moment. Paying attention. Our body, our heart and our soul and our mind is talking to us all the time. The body sends us messages through the vehicle of sensation. Our heart sends us messages through the vehicle of feeling. Our soul sends us messages through the vehicle of “knowing.” Our mind sends us messages through the vehicle of thought.
In our society, we tend to listen to the mind/thoughts over our body/sensation, our heart/feelings and our soul/knowing. We value the mind over the feelings of the heart and the sensations of the body and the knowing of the soul. Unfortunately, the mind has a limited perspective and so if we only listen to the mind, we don’t see the whole picture. It would be like cutting off three of your fingers. Your hand would be much less useful with only a thumb. That is how it is when we only listen to the mind and not the body/sensation, heart/feeling and soul/knowing.
The body, heart and soul have important and very useful information for us. We need to learn how to listen and respond favorably to these messages and balance them with the thoughts in the mind. The question then becomes, how do we do this?
Listen to your body when you eat. How does it feel after eating a certain food? Listen to your body when you exercise. How does your body feel after exercise? Self Inquiry suggestions are also tools with which you can deepen your connection with the body, feelings and knowing. The Breathing Break is an important exercise to practice on a regular basis to stop the habit of being only in the mind and reinforce to be aware of the breath and body.
In our busy lives, it is often difficult to slow down enough to pay attention to the messages from within. We are used to being guided by the mind and by listening to others through news, media, magazines, books internet. We are overloaded with information from the external world. In terms of balance, we also need to “hear” what our internal world is saying. So, once again, how do we do this?
Mindfulness, is the practice of slowing down and paying attention to what is happening in the moment as you are moving through life. It can be as simple as taking deep breaths and feeling your body. It can be really paying attention while brushing your teeth. It can be taking a deep breath and feeling an emotion rather than distracting yourself with something or pushing the emotion down. You can ask yourself, what is happening right now, physically, mentally, emotionally in any moment in any situation.