In our daily lives, we have a lot of things to do, and we have a lot of distractions.
We know what we should be doing, but very quickly we forget, as distractions can be so enchanting. We often end up unaware of what we’re doing, and we completely forget about what we should have been doing. This is forgetfulness.
You may have already lost your attentiveness, and have to read the above paragraph again. That’s fine. Read it again.
Forgetfulness is not a problem with our memory necessarily; it’s a problem due to our lack of mindfulness. Mindfulness is the ability to be fully aware of the activity at hand, without distraction. Distractions are our meandering thoughts, or more clearly stated, distraction is when our awareness is caught up in sensory stimulation and dream-like thinking. When we are distracted, we are unaware of it.
Mindfulness is cultivating an awareness of what’s happening, including our distractions. We become aware of what’s distracting us, and we return to the present moment–the present activity.
With mindfulness practice, we learn to sit, walk, stand, move, eat, sleep, work, and talk with full awareness. On a deeper level, mindfulness includes the awareness of how we attach to thoughts and feelings as real external objects and as a real self. We become aware of how we cling to everything and how that causes suffering. When we let go of clinging, we find peace and full awareness, unclouded by distracting thoughts.
Knowing this conceptually is not so difficult. Applying it is a little bit harder, and takes time to get accustomed to. What’s most difficult is remembering to practice mindfulness. Our habit of forgetfulness can be so strong that we may go through a whole day without being mindful even once. Even if we really want to practice, we still forget. This can be frustrating and disheartening.
What should we do to remember to practice? We remind ourselves! There are many different methods to remind ourselves to be mindful, and we can be creative in doing so. With help from these external reminders, we can develop the internal practice.
In time, our mindfulness becomes so strong, that we quickly recognize distraction and remember to return to our method.
A mentor serves as a living reminder to be mindful, and can help you to design your own lifestyle of practice, suitable for your individual situation. They reflect your own distractions at you, and help you strengthen your own ability to be aware.
Feel free to contact me for more info about participating in my mentoring program, and engaging in Life Practice.