As toddlers, we learn to speak and to hear what others are saying, and we model the behaviors and actions of others. As we continue to grow and develop we learn to read and write, along with other useful skills. But few of us ever learn two of the most vital skills of all – being present and mindful.
Being present is a commitment to love. It takes practice to be present and to love. Being present is the gift of love and requires mindfulness. What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness, according to Jon Kabst-Zinn, the founder of mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) says mindfulness is awareness, cultivated by paying attention in a sustained and particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally.
Mindfulness is the practice of being present, to live in the here and now.
Mindfulness is deliberately paying full attention to what is occurring within you – in your body, heart and mind while also paying attention to what is happening around you. It’s being aware of your moods, thoughts and feelings, even your judgments and criticisms.
“There once was a boy who always worried about what he would do with his life and how he would make a living. There simply wasn’t time in his life to be happy. All he had time to-do was plan for the future. He would tell himself, “I’ll be happy once I get a career and start making money. Then I will be happy.” He worked very hard indeed until he established himself in a good career where he was respected by many. But he wasn’t happy. He was too busy thinking about all the things he didn’t have. So he told himself, I’ll be happy once I have a family.” And so it went on: He got married. He had kids. He had enough money to put them through school. He had grandkids…and so on. But here was always something. And in the end, he died, having had a wonderful life—yet he never took the time to appreciate it.”
Being present happens in the present, not the past or the future. Being aware with real attention is a practice and the more you practice the better you get.
So learn to:
S – stop
T – take a breath
O – observe your thinking and feelings – nonjudgmentally.
P – proceed
This little process takes sustained practice. Mindfulness as a practice is available moment to moment and as you practice you will reap the rewards of this practice and so will your family.
‘If you try to calm the [the mind] it only makes it worse, but over time it does calm, and when it does, there’s room to hear more subtle things – that’s when your intuition starts to blossom and you start to see things more clearly and be in the present more. Your mind just slows down, and you see a tremendous expanse in the moment. You see so much more than you could see before. It’s a discipline, you have to practice it.” Steve Jobs
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© 2019 Bettie J. Spruill, Ideal Coaching Global and Ontological Living, LLC