Mindfulness is defined as the state of being totally present, totally connected to the present moment. The “present moment” is what is meant by mindfulness, and this moment includes your thoughts, emotions, sensations, and all the other elements of what is meant by mindfulness. If you are living a mindful lifestyle, it means that you have learned to control your responses to any moment, to all situations, to people or things, instead of responding to them. You are fully present in each and every moment.
So what is meant by mindfulness when we use the word “meditation”? Meditation is simply sitting comfortably with your eyes closed, and learning how to quiet the mind. Being fully present in meditation also means that you are able to observe your breathing, to learn how to listen to your body and to tune out distractions, which can contribute to stress and a number of other health disorders. Meditation does not need to be practiced alone, and there are many ways in which meditation is beneficial to our health and well-being. Some forms of meditation are more difficult than others, so if you choose to undertake a form of meditation, you should do so under the supervision of a trained therapist or instructor.
When we use the word mindfulness meditation to refer to practices that teach us to be fully present while we are meditating, there are several schools of thoughts and ideas on what is meant by mindfulness. Many people have developed their own ideas on what is meant by mindfulness, and what is meant by being mindful. The fact is that there is no “right” way to do mindfulness meditation, as every single way is beneficial to our health and well-being.
One school of thoughts on what is meant by mindfulness-based meditation is that it involves sitting very still, closing your eyes, and becoming aware of your body in all areas. The second school of thoughts on what is meant by mindfulness-based meditation is that it involves awareness of one’s breath. Some people who practice mindfulness-based meditation call their method Mindfulness meditation. In fact, Mindfulness meditation was the name of the first book on a series of guided meditations written by Thomas Merton, an American Zen Buddhist. The term mindfulness itself comes from the Latin word meaning “mind.”
Another school of thoughts on what is meant by mindfulness is that it helps us develop self-reflection. It helps us examine our thoughts and actions and learn to avoid those actions that cause stress and suffering to others and ourselves. Many Buddhist meditation teachers encourage their students to practice mindfulness meditation, but the nature of Buddhism is such that it regards all meditation as mere mindfulness, and it has very little to do with trying to transcend consciousness. Buddhist mindfulness is most helpful when it is combined with some form of meditation, like insight meditation, or concentration meditation.
Another school of thoughts on what is meant by mindfulness is that it helps us develop healthy interpersonal relationships. We can help others in everyday life by being mindful of how we act in response to others. A good example is to respond to a compassionate greeting with an appropriate smile, a kind phrase or a thoughtful comment. If we are aware of how we act, in effect, we will become more mindful of how we treat others, and a more mindful lifestyle will ensue. And practicing a mindful lifestyle can be beneficial not only in one’s personal life, but also in one’s business life, since it can help create a healthier work environment.
And yet another school of thoughts on what is meant by mindfulness exercises focuses on allowing mind to watch itself. This would include doing all kinds of mindfulness exercises, including laughing, singing and other acts that can help you clear your mind and give you a perspective of who you really are. By letting go of the desire to control things or put on a happy face, you can actually improve yourself as a person. It’s a kind of self-healing, and the end result will let go of the desire to do things that can make you unhappy. Mindfulness can help you get there.
So the question still stands – what is meant by mindfulness? And what does it have to do with being more successful? Mindfulness can certainly help us in all kinds of ways and it has a lot to do with being more successful. But in order to fully benefit from the goodness that comes with it, we have to learn to master this mindful state first.