Imagine you are eating your favourite breakfast. It may be dosa with sambar or poori/chappathi with yummy sabji ! The first few mouthfuls were delicious. It is heaven ! But then, you soon realize that you have finished it already. All that you could recollect were the first few moments of the delicious breakfast. What happened ? Where were you ?
You were probably worrying about the meeting you have scheduled with your boss; or the forthcoming exams (if you are a student); in short worrying about the future. Or your mind may have wandered into the past, regreting the decision you took, or the fight you had with your friend/colleague. It can be anything that happened in the past.
In short, your mind was on 'auto-pilot'. And you may be making yourself anxious about the future or sad about the past. You are not living in the present. In other words, you were not mindful !
Mindfulness means paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgementally with compassion, curiosity and acceptance. Being mindful means intentionally turning off the autopilot mode in whch we operate so much of the time - brooding about the past or worrying about the future - and instead tuning in to things as they are present in the present moment with full awareness.
Mindfulness is a way of shifting our awareness from the doing mode to being mode so that we take in all the information that an experience offers us before we respond to it. And, we always have a choice ! Either we can experience life through a screen of thoughts, emotions or pre-conceived ideas or directly perceive life with all its splendour.
Mindfulness is a translation of the ancient pali word ( language spoken during buddha's time) Sati meaning Awareness, Attention and remembering.
- Awareness - This is an apsect of being human that makes you conscious of your experiences. As an infant you had awareness without words. and ideas. thoughts and concepts came after awareness. Without awareness nothing would exist for you.
- Attention - Attention is a focused awareness; mindfulness training develops your ability to focus and sustain your attention wherever and however you choose.
- Remembering - This aspect of mindfulness is about remembering to pay attention to your experience from moment to moment. Being mindful is easy to forget !