An F+ is the grade I give all spiritual teachers (including myself) for making spiritual healing sound too hard, too boring, and too complicated. The “F” is for the super-confusing vernacular and terminology we use for things, and the “+” is because at least we all say it really nicely 🙂
Today, let’s talk about the number one word that is over-used and misused. You guessed it: “mindfulness.” Everyone is being “mindful” these days. It’s the new “busy.” Yet most people don’t really know what “mindful” means.
To further confuse matters (and our clients) we say things like, “Get out of your head.” And “quit thinking.”
How does this work, this being mindful, but out of our head? Our mind is in our head, right? Please be mindful, but quit all that thinking about what you’re doing and just go with the flow. WHA-AT?? Hilarious and a big red F to all of us.
So let’s examine what we’re talking about. As defined by Wikipedia, mindfulness “is the psychological process of bringing one’s attention to the internal and external experiences occurring in the present moment.”
Wow, that was helpful.
I humbly ask, isn’t that what we always think we are doing? What’s the catch? And how is it that most of us keep doing it so wrong that we need a spiritual teacher?
Maybe this will help you see the difference.
Although the practice of mindfulness a wonderful tool (and powerful tool) the word is confusing and it inadvertently denies the voice of the body. In other words, we pick certain ideas and topics to be mindful about, and deny other pains of the mind-body.
You notice we now have mindfulness teachers, and bodytalk teachers, and more confusion than ever! And yet, the last time I checked mind and body are still connected.
To be fair, all these practices were invented to help people understand themselves as a way to overcome their unhappiness. If their daily lives and thoughts were responsible for the mess they were in, then how, so the reasoning went, could we change their thoughts and quit reacting to them if they are always present? The answer is “mindfulness.” We watch our mind to see what it is doing without reacting to the thoughts.
Can we do that???
Indeed we can! And when we learn to do this well we awaken our authentic powerful self. This is why everyone is practicing mindfulness. It’s the cure to every problem, mental and physical. We know all the answers—from within.
I describe “mindfulness” as the process of watching the narrative (stories, beliefs) of the mind and/or the interesting sensations of the body as if you were a “fly on the wall” or an observer for hire:
Hmm…. I was fine and then I just yelled at my friend and called him names. Now why did I do that?
Hmm…. my stomach is rumbling.
When we watch ourselves without reacting, we awaken the more powerful innate flow of authentic answers. The reason we need help in the beginning is usually lack of trust of our own ability to sit through the discomfort. For example, when our stomach is rumbling and we are deeply uncomfortable, and if there’s food in the other room, we will often choose the food—even if we’ve just eaten.
As we learn to wait out the discomfort and hear the answers for ourselves, the process is easy, and Voilà! We really can heal our lives, all by ourselves.
That’s it for now…( and I hope it was at least a C+ this time).
Have a nice week,