There is a simple way to understand mindfulness: it’s being fully aware of whatever is going on in your current experience. You’re not thinking about the past or worrying about the future. You are completely in the present moment.
A way of practicing being mindful is to pay attention to your breathing. Most of the time, you don’t think about the fact that you’re breathing. Breathing is something that you do naturally, without noticing you’re doing it. On the one hand, you are doing it, and on the other hand, it is happening to you.
But now, since we have been talking about it, you are consciously aware of your breathing.
Breathing is similar to thinking. I can feel that I am doing it and that it is happening to me, at the same time.
Now let’s try a simple exercise;
Breathe in slowly, and when your lungs are full, hold it for a few seconds.
Now exhale fully and then wait a few seconds before breathing in.
Try that a few times.
Try feeling the air coming in and out of your body.
Breathing in, holding it, breathing out, holding it.
You can close your eyes if you want, it might make it easier.
Now, just let your body breathe by itself. Don’t try to control your breath anymore. Just watch your body breathe.
You might notice it feels a bit different.
Maybe you feel the breath is slower, the duration between inhaling and exhaling is longer. Maybe the breath feels shallower.
When you do that, you are consciously aware of your breath. You are mindful of it. You are fully in the present moment, and that’s mindfulness.
It’s not a quick fix, and it’s not about stopping yourself from thinking or trying to escape reality. It’s a skill that you can gradually improve with practice. It will, with time, help you understand the nature of thoughts and the mind.
It will give you insight into how the mind works, and with time it can have a profound impact on the way you experience life.
Mindfulness is about observing sensations, thoughts and feelings without getting caught up in them. It’s about learning to live in the present moment rather than the past or future. It’s about living in the “now.”