What Does It Mean to be Practicing Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is the practice of paying attention to what is happening to us from moment to moment. To be mindful, we bring our full awareness to both the activity at hand and to our inner experience of it.
Why We Practice Mindfulness
We practice mindfulness to pause. The practice offers an antidote in our full lives. For most of us in the Western developing world, we pack our days with long to-do lists – whether it be at a demanding job in the office, at home, or managing a family.
We levy high expectations of ourselves, and thus, of others. Many of us race through the day, trying to pack as much in as possible. We deprive ourselves of sleep, fresh air, fresh food, and time to pause.
Often, we experience this deprivation not only in the body but in the mind and spirit. Literally, we feel like we’re running on empty. We experience demands on us (many of which are self-inflicted) and we have nothing more to offer.
Mindfulness creates space for us to observe what’s happening at the moment and encourages us to notice with no judgment. Simply to be awake and aware.
In his book, The Miracle of Mindfulness, Thich Nhat Hahn writes this about mindfulness, “Mindfulness is the miracle by which we can call back in a flash our dispersed mind and restore it to wholeness so that we can live each minute of life.”
Mindfulness is about restoring the mind to wholeness. In order to restore the mind to wholeness, we begin with the body. The practice of paying attention to what, how, when we eat and how we feel physically, moment to moment. Mindful eating is about restoring the body back to wholeness.