Being aware and present doesn’t mean what I thought it did.
When I first started on my current path, I had a small idea of what mindfulness was. I studied meditation. I sucked at it. I was struggling to find my way in life. My personal relationships were full of toxicity. I felt lost.
My understanding of mindfulness was shallow. The equivalent of stop to smell the roses and appreciate your surroundings. As much as that is a wonderful thing to do, mindfulness goes beyond taking a walk.
Being aware is harder than you would think.
Many have had a childhood where they were taught to ignore. Adults speaking was none of our business. A person being hit, particularly a child, was to be ignored. We don’t want to make trouble. We don’t want to get involved. If you see something that cannot be explained, we were told that we were imagining things.
Unteaching yourself these habits takes a lot of work.
I had to become aware of my emotions and accept them. Chastising myself for being angry, afraid, or anxious was only making me feel depressed and hopeless. Allowing fear to consume my happy moments was slowly destroying me. I was so afraid that if I was happy, my life would explode into chaos or possibly end. I sincerely believed that I did not deserve to be happy. I saw myself as a waste of life.
I had internalized negative things that had been said to me as constructive criticism. It took a long time to identify those thoughts and feelings. Through building self-awareness, I was able to find the root of these destructive thoughts. It took time to remove as much as possible and counteract them with more positive thoughts about myself.
Mindfulness is a type of magic.
Through awareness, we are allowed to change our perspective. This doesn’t only apply to our inner selves. Those of us raised with casual racism are constantly challenged to become aware of those thoughts inside of ourselves. We must change these in our own minds in order to affect change in our society.
Mindfulness makes you a better friend and partner.
Awareness of the feelings of others is necessary to maintain relationships. Simply existing and occasionally acknowledging other people is counterproductive. Be present when conversing. Try to focus on the other person’s words instead of thinking only about what you will say next. Apply this to what you know about this person. Allow yourself to accept their perspective. Understand that their experience is valid. There is no right or wrong way to live life as long as no harm is being done.
For many this seems like common sense.
I want to tell you that close minded people do the opposite of mindfulness. They do not accept any perspective or experience that is not their own. They impose their philosophies on those around themselves. They shun their emotions and ignore the sensibilities and sensitivities of others. Many of them are unaware of what they are doing, imo. That doesn’t mean that I must expose myself to them.
Take time when you are not trying to sleep. Look inside of yourself and allow yourself to see your inner world. Think of your friends and family. Examine your emotions and experiences.
These practices will open up a world of possibilities.
I suddenly found that I had choices that I didn’t know existed. I stepped outside of the framework of my previous life. I finally saw a way out of the patterns that I had been living. My dreams were suddenly possible. I was able to reach the stars. Compared to the life I had caged myself within, I had entered outerspace. I’m much happier amongst the uncharted paths.
Success is what you decide. Be aware. Be present. Enjoy your life for as long as you live.