Mindfulness: A real-world technique for living in the present moment

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Mindfulness by Anne Ihnen, M.A., and Carolyn Flynn

Mindfulness is living in harmony with your life. I say this because we so often exist in a state of dissonance with our own thoughts. When there is turbulence in the economy or in our personal lives, we want to shut it out, push it away, think about it later, hope it will get better or go away. But this creates a cacophany in our inner landscape, because these voices want to be heard. Gradually, we all off all the unpleasant parts, and so we only live with a fraction of our awareness.

Mindfulness is a technique that uses a focus on the present moment.

The goal of mindfulness is mindfulness itself – not insight, not spiritual revelation, not even relaxation, even though those often result from the practice of mindfulness.

You can practice mindfulness even if you are not a meditator. This is the foundation of our book. We wanted to reach people who weren’t meditator, per se, to introduce the benefits of mindfulness to a broader audience.

Keep an eye on this blog. In the coming months, I’ll offer real-world ways to practice mindfulness:

mindful multitasking

Mindfully evaluate your to-do list:
➢ What items do I need to do?
➢ What items do I want to do?
➢ Are any of these items here to distract me?
➢ Are any of these “shoulds”?
➢ What’s important to me?
➢ What can be done another day?
➢ What can I ask someone else to do?
➢ What doesn’t really have to be done at all?

mindful eating

Mindful eating is about finding your particular point of balance with food, choosing foods intentionally and tasting your food fully. It’s about nourishing yourself by making conscious choices that align with your needs and your values.

mindful driving

Use breath and body awareness to come back into your body, in the moment. Notice aversion – the need to push away the experience because it’s boring or irritating. Mindful driving is a way to practice mindfulness in a real-world way.

mindful writing

Even if you’re not a writer, mindful writing will open yourself up to the whole of your life, giving you a better, more grounded sense for how your mind works. Mindfulness is a way to tame the wild horses of the mind; mindful writing is a way to know those wild horses. Mindful writing is an excellent technique for tempering anxiety, building a resilience and tolerance for those thoughts of worry and reactivity; mindful writing is an excellent technique for unleashing your creative spirit – for allowing your imagination to go to the places that scare you.

All composed things are like a dream, a phantom, a drop of dew, a flash of lightning. That is how to meditate on them. That is how to observe them.
–– The Diamond Sutra