What is mindfulness?

Some people seem to think that mindfulness is a special form of awareness or a special mental focus requiring an effort. That’s not entirely true. If mindfulness requires you to make a very big mental effort to clear your mind or create tension in your thoughts, feelings and bodily sensations, can you still say that you are engaged in mindfulness’?  The true state of mindfulness is in fact the opposite.

The most natural state of your mind is mindfulness. It can be described as a gentle state of unity with reality. Mindfulness is a form of happy acceptance. Mindfulness can also be described as a sense of integration with your own past, your environment and the people around you. It does not require any judgment. When your mind is in such a natural state, it retains good concentration but doesn’t struggle or fight. Therefore, it does not experience any pain or fatigue or exhaustion. It is therefore powerful by nature.

Suppose you have found a very interesting book. If you find the book unputdownable, you would keep reading it all night until you finish reading it.  Then, it can be said that you are in the state of mindfulness. Suppose you play tennis and just can’t stop playing the wonderful game, because you find it so exciting, relaxing and fun. Again, it can be said that you are in the state of mindfulness.

The point here is that the state of mind is ‘mindfulness’, when you are (1) self-motivated (2) relaxed; and (3) having fun. Without these mental ingredients, your mind cannot be united with reality or integrated with reality. In other words, it cannot be in a natural state.

At a slightly deeper level, it can be said that the mind in the state of mindfulness is capable of uniting or integrating the absurdities or paradoxes it experiences.

To attain this state of mind, first, you need to find an aim or purpose. Swimming can be a good purpose. Walking can also be a good purpose. Broadly speaking, any form of work can be a good purpose in this context. Moreover, when you experience mindfulness with the three mental ingredients, you are likely to achieve your full potential.

So, what causes the opposite of mindfulness? What makes the mind to drift away from the state of unity? Being judgmental is a big factor which often diminishes the state of mindfulness. Being fixated about profit and loss is another factor which can negate the state of mindfulness. If you really enjoy dancing or playing music, do you really worry about money or becoming famous?

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