I have to work hard at mindfulness, maybe it’s this way for everyone.
I find it exceedingly difficult to keep my attention in the present moment: if asked to list my hobbies, worrying would be number one, by time spent doing it.
So I REALLY WORK at being in this moment.
Why bother, you ask, if it’s such an effort?
Well, all new habits take effort to establish, and since I’ve been a compulsive worrier since childhood, that particular habit is very well entrenched and it’s gonna take effort to change it.
It’s worth it though, because I need to be in the moment right now: my family and I are going through some tough times and the last thing I need is to be worrying and mulling and making things worse in my head than they actually are.
Bring on the mindfulness malarkey.
Yoga incorporates a huge number of practices and many different traditions, all of which emphasise different things. I’ve mostly studied in the Krishnamacharya system which is based on a text called the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. This text outlines the path of Raja Yoga, or royal yoga in which, wait for it, you use your mind to achieve enlightenment. Suits my worldview perfectly.
Ironically, this isn’t always what I most need.
I’d do better with MINDLESSNESS. Or, as we generally call it, mindfulness. The practice of being mindful of the here and now ONLY.
Karen’s been reading the Hatha Yoga Pradipika for an assignment and its emphasis is that the mind cannot be controlled through the mind. It talks more about finding balance between prana (vital or life force) and citta (mental energy).
Seeking balance between the physicality of now and all the worthwhile (and not worthwhile) things we do with our brains is a useful practice in the modern world.
Most of us spend a lot of time up in our heads now, and very little in the physical present.
Basically to me, being in the present moment and not overthinking everything is the essence of the Buddhist practice of mindfulness. I do think it would be better to call it mindlessness though.