Awareness and Presence in Every Moment
Mindfulness can be defined as having complete awareness of our thoughts, decisions, sensations, surroundings,and feelings in everything that we see, do and experience. To be mindful is to be present in each moment. Our bodies as a tangible entity are always present, however it is our wandering thoughts that detach us from the present in which we exist only momentarily.
For many of us I can assure that bed time (for example), goes a little something like this...you lie down with all intention to fall asleep, and suddenly a "mental race" commences...your mind begins to inundate you with a swarm of data following which you hastily begin working on your mental "to do"list -frantically fathoming how you are going to get through all the personal and work tasks that you have to complete the following day.
Within the fast paced lifestyle of an ever-changing, knowledge driven society, our minds exist in the future, ever evaluating, planning, organising, and scheduling for what is to come. We are the product of a techno-age that is predominated by mental rather than physical action, and resultantly we are programmed to live in our heads.
Mindfulness, or the ability to be present and aware is one of the greatest challenges we face within our modern society. Knowledge is undoubtedly mankind's strongest asset, having brought about momentous discoveries that have enabled the progression of the human species. However, with knowledge comes complexity and with complexity comes burden, stress, anxiety and worry.
Stress simplified is a biological reaction to complex and conflicting information perceived within our personal, social, and work environments. As we work towards resolve within an abyss of conflicting information, we drain our mental resources which in turn causes us to experience physical manifestations of fatigue, and in prolonged cases, anxiety and chronic exhaustion. In order to free ourselves from the anchors of our thoughts, we must first take control of the contents thereof. Our minds are entities within themselves that if not regularly weeded-out, become too quickly overgrown with unproductive data that bogs us down - a mental head weight that prevents us from being in the here and now.
Neglecting the contents of our thoughts and allowing our minds to run wild is as dangerous to our health as is any addictive drug. The mind is an exceptionally powerful tool if and only if we are in control of it. Cultivating a space within our minds for positive and productive thoughts is key to enabling sustained wellness. In maintaining healthy thoughts, we are able to think less, think better and think "clean". In so doing our ability to be mindful becomes more accessible to us - we are able to be present, to be aware - to truly experience everything we encounter and to enjoy our lives fully.