Using mindfulness as a path to happiness.

Mindfulness can be a direct path to happiness. It allows us to be present with all our experiences, both good and bad, most especially all the in-between moments in life that we often don’t pay much attention to. We allow much of our day-to-day experiences to slip though the cracks of life.  Mindfulness is a discipline of mind that allows us to be present in moments of anxiety, anger, fear, depression, sorrow as well as joy, love, tranquility in the exact moment we are experiencing these emotions.  Mindfulness can also offer a more objective, reflective perspective from moment-to-moment. We can learn to pay attention to all that is present.  I have found that much of the time, we are usually negotiating with our feelings in one-way or another, trying to manipulate, defend against or avoid them to some extent or another.  We have assembled an arsenal of ways to try to control our feelings, but instead of using our artillery, we learn to relax and experience our feelings in their fullness.  Sounds somewhat crazy, huh? Who in their right mind wants to be in any sort of discomfort?  The truth is, only when we can allow ourselves to be present to what is, can we find the relief we are seeking. We accept what we are feeling in the moment and have compassion for ourselves, which is very different from pity, and we allow our feelings to reach the surface and teach the lesson we are learning.  We must be brave enough to learn it.

So again, what is Mindfulness? It is the ability to really experience our lives, as it is, in the moment and resist the urge to wish it were different and that is hard to do.  I often have to pry myself away from wishing life was different than it is. Mindfulness is having the courage to accept and examine our feelings, that space between the stimulus and our response to it. For me, when I can manage it, it feels like stillness, a brief moment of silent space between taking in a breath and letting one go. Have you ever noticed that in-between pause?

The benefits of mindfulness is a clarity of mind that helps us maneuver better through life, allowing us the distance we need to access and examine our feelings before we act upon them. Much of the time we are so busy living our hectic lives, running towards or moving against something or other, striving so hard that we loose sight of our moment-to-moment experiences. The irony of mindfulness is that by allowing ourselves to slow down, we begin to notice life, we begin to fully realize that nothing is permanent, thereby we begin to be more appreciative of life as it is and to let go!  We can then look at life from a perspective of curiosity and compassion for ourselves and for others.  We learn that acceptance is often the prerequisite for change, not the other way around.  Just speaking my peace!