Mindfulness is art of being focused on the present moment. It forms the basis of Eastern meditation practice and I would argue for all spiritual practice. Mindfulness allows for self mastery. By being aware of your state, you can adjust yourself if you are being overwhelmed by negative disturbing emotions. In today’s technologically stimulating consumer society we are bombarded with media messages and advertising. This together with what I would argue is an intellectually dominant western culture results in very busy minds that from my observations most people are not very skillful in relaxing and being still.
Yet, by being more and more mindful of your state you can practice to be calm, even under busy situations. The sign of self mastery as I observed my traditional African healer teacher, is to be calm and not reactive to stressors or whatever is happening in the environment. This is a skill, to use mindfulness to adjust ones behavior to be centered and aware. This is usually difficult to achieve as many people living in cities are accustomed to living frenetically and reacting with anger and impatience to people and events. While it is an inbuilt aspect of being a human; to react to stressors that can threaten us, with enough practice its possible to be more skillful in using the mind and to respond mindfully and with calm.
By remaining calm and centered one conserves energy. Often when I go into nature and allow my mind to rest and be focused on nature itself, I feel recharged and my energy restored to full capacity in the space of an hour or two. Normally we waste a lot of energy reacting to people or worries that chew at our psychological energy continually. Through mindfulness we can break that pattern, yet paradoxically it takes effort to practice, but it is worth it I find.
The more mindful we become the more we can consciously adjust our behavior to not react automatically and the less stressed we can be. Being mindful can: help us identify illness early in our bodies, can help us make the right choices (when stressed and impatient we can often make the wrong choices), and allow us to know ourselves better, i.e., what makes us satisfied or unsatisfied. Therefore, mindfulness is a skill that has great advantages for workplace satisfaction and personal development and our children should be taught this as part of their schooling process. By building the habit of being mindful we can use our minds most effectively with focus and with little stress.