Mindful LivingMany of us, professionals and regular people, alike are feeling their lives are overly hectic or emotionally out of kilter, and are looking for ways to restore the balance. We are looking to leading a mindful life.
Living a mindful life seems more difficult now than it was in the past. The fast life is all around us – fast food, fast cars, fast conversations, fast families, fast holidays. We may be living great lives but we aren’t ‘there’ for them. We don’t take the time to linger over food, over friends, over our family etc. We are not savouring our life and are starving of the real connection to our life.
The solution is self-explanatory. We slow down and connect with our life. But often it is easier said than done. Each fast aspect of our life is necessary for other fast aspects to happen, and we have been fooled into thinking we need, or even must, be fast and have what the ‘fast life’ gives us.
If we don’t listen to our bodies and to that little voice in our head that is telling us to slow down we may succumb to the myriad of health conditions that are a result of leading fast, stressful lives. The biological costs of ignoring stress are staggering, manifesting in cardiovascular and other systemic diseases and even, new research shows, in accelerated aging. The psychological costs are equally large with anxiety, depression, eating disorders and other emotional illnesses associated with unmanaged stress.
To be simplistic, the solution is to pay attention, on purpose, in a systematic way, in the present moment. That is, we need to be mindful. This is the answer. We can develop a wise relationship with our sensory experience through mindful meditation. Mindful living is a way of life that urges people to find calm by connecting with the present moment.
Jon Kabat-Zinn, professor emeritus at the University of Massachusetts Medical School has spent much of his professional life bringing the medical world’s attention to the wisdom of the body and the healing that can happen when we get in touch with our senses and our mind. He has been a proponent of mindfulness – a Buddhist concept that can be best described as awareness. Awareness of everything, awareness of our senses, our body, our mind. Jon believes in using that awareness to learn to open up new dimensions of well-being and integrity, of wisdom and compassion and kindness in ourself.
He says: “Mindfulness is a certain way of paying attention that is healing, that is restorative, that is reminding you of who you actually are so that you don’t wind up getting entrained into being a human doing rather than a human being.”
When we practice mindfulness in our everyday life we are less caught up in and at the mercy of our destructive emotions, and we are then predisposed to greater emotional intelligence and balance and therefore to greater happiness because living mindfully gives us more satisfaction in our job, in our family and in our life in general.