The Meaning of Mindfulness
“All suffering is either remembered or anticipated, never experienced in the present moment”
-Course in Miracles
The guy’s fist was coming at my face. He was in a battle frenzy at the concert and we were surrounded by thousands of screaming rock and roll fans. The fight had started over 20 feet away and it had spread through the crowd like wildfire. I was in my happy place and I wasn’t in fight or flight. I was simply enjoying the overpowering music and I was unconcerned with the fight developing near me. I clearly remember watching in a calm manner as his fist came towards my face and when it was about a foot from connecting with my jaw, the guy finally actually looked at me and saw I was calm and not reacting. I was not fighting or flighting. He suddenly froze and looked me directly in the eyes with the biggest grin I have ever seen and then he turned away and found someone else to fight. I was focused on my happiness in the moment and there simply was not space for anything else. When I was not reactive, the conflict simply passed me by. True story.
You choose how to respond to life events. You ultimately have the power to choose even how you interpret situations, and if you practice, you can consciously choose how you think about something or how you feel about something based on your wisdom and inner knowing rather than allowing your ego-based fears to control this process. This skill takes practice, because most of us are used to allowing our unconscious programming from our past make these choices for us, but you do have a choice.
Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.
- Viktor E. Frankl
Who you are is love. I don’t care what you have or have not done, or whatever you have or have not accomplished. If you look deep inside yourself, past all of your ego fear-based thinking, we just want to love and be loved. That is the truth of who you are and it is the truth of what it is to be human. You may get confused about what you need to be happy, and you may get your wires crossed about choices to make to find happiness, but at your core nothing has ever changed.
Knowing your true nature is the only stable basis for self-esteem. Forgiving yourself and others by facing and releasing your ego-based fears helps you re-center and become fully present in the present moment and this is where you find joy, power, clarity and wisdom that leads to effective action. All your emotional suffering is all about unresolved conflicts and trauma from your past or fears about your future, but it’s all smoke and mirrors that blind you to the truth that who you are is love and you will only find this knowing in the only time that is real – right now.
The practice of mindfulness trains your mind to release your fears, hurts and grudges and find peace. At any given moment, you can withdraw your attention from external events and know that any emotion you have comes from within and is ultimately a choice. You don’t control external events or the choices of others, but you always choose your response.
One way to practice of mindfulness is to withdraw your projections from your external situations. Release your fears and know that happiness comes from within. Self-reflect on the fears that get triggered in any given situation and re-center yourself on love. Then respond to situations based on your wisdom and inner knowing rather than allowing your fear-based ego programming to make the decision for you. This does take practice, but the more you practice, you will find that centering and responding from your wisdom can become a more habitual response over time as you practice this on a daily basis. Another effect of this is that joy will continue to grow within you like the passion of young lovers or like a garden in the spring. This practice can transform your life if you wish, but don’t just take my word for it, try it for yourself and see for yourself how these principles can work for you.
You can do this.