STOP – What does mindfulness and being mindful mean?

What does mindfulness and being mindful mean - stop Mindfulness exercise it just takes a moment to be mindful

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Mindfulness is the first step the vehicle through which we become mindful.  Mindfulness is like a light that shines out in the dark, allowing us to become mindfully aware of our thoughts and feelings. How these affect our behaviour towards ourselves, other people and our surroundings. Mindfulness and being mindful is like switching on the light of awareness.

To be mindful is to be present here and now body and soul with whatever is. To recognise that the past is past it is gone, acknowledge and cherish the experience and learn from it.  Being mindful is to realise that if you keep reliving the past, you will be stuck in it while your life passes by. To be mindful is to see that the future is unwritten and that it is illusionary. 

To be mindful is to wake up to the reality that the only thing that you have is the unfathomable present moment. A place which is beyond time and space.  In which you can experience eternity and what has been called the kingdom of heaven and nirvana.

“Mindfulness is the miracle which can call back in a flash our dispersed mind and restore it to wholeness so that we can live each minute of life”

Thich Nhat Hanh (1999, p. 14)
Being present and nonjudgemental

To be mindful is to be present here and now with yourself.  Present with all your iniquities and unwanted thoughts. Present with all that encompasses you, let it be negative neutral or positive and to be accepting and nonjudgemental of yourself and others. 

For example, during a body scan mindfulness allows you to turn your attention towards becoming aware of the moment by moment, feelings within your body and the thoughts related to such feelings. Nonjudgemental in this situation means that you do not wish for different sensations or thoughts.  You mindfully observe whatever is arising in the body with a kind curious and compassionate attitude. Without trying to change anything being present with whatever is. Such a compassionate attitude of accepting and letting go can have profound healing effects on us.

Mindfulness can be challenging

When you start to practice mindfulness, you might find it is quite a challenge to be present here and now with yourself.  It might be that every time you bring your mind in the present after a few seconds, you find yourself thinking about something in the past or the future. This can feel quite frustrating, and you might start to think that I’m not good at this or that I will never be mindful and give up.

I encourage you not to give up mindfulness because mindfulness is not about reaching a goal. 

A personal journey

Mindfulness practice is a personal journey a gradual process where you slowly learn how to be more present here and now with yourself and with what you are doing. 

Most importantly, mindfulness is not about not thinking or having no thoughts that is a near-impossible endeavour.  Being mindful is about becoming aware of what you’re thinking or that you’re lost in thought and gently bringing back your attention to whatever you find yourself doing.

Finally, Always remember that Our body is always here in the present while our mind has a tendency to wander into the past or the future.

Mindfulness and being mindful

Mindfulness and being mindful is a question of asking yourself, where is my body and where is my mind? And if you notice that your mind has wandered away from your body that’s a moment of mindfulness. A moment where you can STOP and through the vehicle of the breath mindfully ground your mind back into the body. So whenever you notice that you are nowhere and everywhere – STOP:

  • Stop just stop and pause 
  • Take a deep breath and mindfully rest the mind back into the body
  • Observe what’s going on right now, notice any thoughts or feelings and bodily sensations
  • Proceed mindfully with awareness and kindness to yourself and others

As Susan Bauer-Wu says mindfulness and being mindful takes just a moment. So remember to STOP

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Gunaratana, H. (2011). Mindfulness in plain english (20th-anniversary ed.). Somerville, NJ: Wisdom Publications.

Hanh, T. N. (1999). The miracle of mindfulness: An introduction to the practice of meditation. Boston, MA: Beacon Press.

Wolf, C., & Serpa, J. G. (2015). A clinician’s guide to teaching mindfulness: The comprehensive session-by-session program for mental health professionals and healthcare providers. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger Publications.

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2 thoughts on “STOP – What does mindfulness and being mindful mean?”

  1. Very well-explained, as always. I think there would be more peace and harmony in the world if people practised mindfulness!

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