Humans tend to complicate things. We procrastinate, worry that things aren’t getting done, and anxiously ruminate over our ‘logjam’ of thoughts, stress and anxiety…are you mindful or is your mind full?
Nowhere is over-complication more obvious than the effort to be present and improve by practicing mindfulness.
The assumption is to practice mindfulness; I need to know how to concentrate, block my thoughts, create a special state of mind, or meditate and empty my mind.
We get pulled into the ‘complexity illusion’ by believing that mindfulness is a superhuman accomplishment.
The mind thrives on this kind of ‘activity.’ The self-talk (and associated resistance) goes something like, I can’t do this, it’s not me. My family are born hotheads. I’m not one of those people; I’m (fill in the blank) _____ (Irish, Italian, or, etc.…).
Self-talk will make us ask….mindful or is your mind full?
“This thing up here, this consciousness, thinks it’s running the shop. It’s a secondary organ; it’s a secondary organ of a total human being, and it must not put itself in control. It must submit and serve the humanity of the body.” —Joseph Campbell.
Mind activity hinders mindfulness. Your mind is full and busy, but you are not practicing mindfulness—the classic activity without progress.
Seeing this points you to the essence of mindfulness.
The best way to practice mindfulness is to home in on the most straightforward, liberating language possible. All your effort is then on the act of being mindful. And the simplest definition of mindfulness is noticing or awareness. If you are aware, you are mindful.
Awareness is the essence of mindfulness.
Jon Kabat-Zinn describes awareness as “the innate human capacity that we hardly pay attention to. We don’t need to acquire it. We only need to develop access and familiarize ourselves with this capacity, this dimension, which is more ‘you’ and more useful than any other training or practical skill.”
When you are aware, rather than scattered and worried—a mind full, you are awake, noticing, and practicing mindfulness.
Seeing this, you can also see how easy it is to practice awareness anywhere anytime.
You become aware of (in real-time) emotions, feelings, thoughts, distractions, and psychic irritants. This awareness helps you manage your moods and annoyances before others see them.
You don’t have a mind full; quite the contrary, you have enough simple presence to manage yourself in the most challenging situations.
You are using your mind as intended rather than your mind using you.
This is the ultimate skill for leaders in the workplace…