Mindfulness relates to paying attention, on purpose, without judgment, and with a willingness to allow things to unfold in their own time. This contemplative practice won’t take away burdens, cure physical or emotional illness, resolve conflicts, or protect anyone from pain. So why do it?
From my experience, the formal and informal practices of mindfulness help me recognize problems for what they are. Taking a mindful pause allows me to sit with conflict a little more constructively, and make choices that feel more helpful. I experience life with greater attention, with less judgment, and less reactivity. I still have to work problems out, but bearing witness to my own experiences helps me get it right far more often than wrong!
My personal journey towards mindfulness was rather indirect. I was introduced to the idea of the present moment during my yoga-teacher training in 2007. My yoga instructor travelled to India as a young man and was trained in the Iyengar and Ashtanga systems of yoga. Both of these yoga traditions are closely tied to a philosophical understanding of the world that is much more profound than the physical practice of asana (yoga poses). This training included learning about and integrating yoga philosophy into everyday life, as well as learning how to cue different yoga postures. It was like a door opened up and I was ushered in to a whole new way of being!
In the beginning, I found the notion of “living in the present” very agitating. For some unexplained reason I associated being mindful with being selfish. I really had to read about mindfulness, think about what it means, ask questions, wonder with curiosity, and finally, I had to experience it to truly understand its power. I still find a sense of freedom when connected to the present. Here is my story:
What brought you to mindfulness?
With warm regards,