Comparing a mindful life with a mindless life

Peaceful Rowingphoto © 2008 Fang Guo | more info (via: Wylio)
In the last article, we discussed how to best enjoy our food by being mindful.

Mindfulness is experiencing everything fully, your feelings, the world around you, what you do, everything. It is full awareness and experience of everything without judgment. It is total presence in the present moment, total acceptance of it. It is total acceptance and love of yourself.

I mention experience without passing judgment. This is important. Passing judgment takes you away from the experience, it goes against the process of mindfulness. You don’t need to label things as good or bad, or this or that. You can experience the world as it is, without labeling, without passing judgments.

When they try their hands at mindfulness, most people are frustrated by how little control they have over their minds. An uncontrolled mind eats more, an uncontrolled mind watches more TV, an uncontrolled mind will browse mindlessly, an uncontrolled mind will not be happy! It’s not just health that mindfulness gets you, it gets you everything, it gets you peace of mind, it develops the most important, most strong and most distinguishing advantage you have among animals, your mind. All the happiness, all the money, all the health, all the peace is there for the mindful. The mindfuls experience each moment in all it’s richness and vibrancy. The mindless just keep seeking that elusive happiness and satisfaction everywhere, in eating, in TV, in browsing, in building muscles and a toned body.

The mindless work hard to get money but don’t feel too happy when they have it. Their money gets them temporary elation now and then but they tend to drop back to the same happiness level again and again.

The mindful play with money, they enjoy playing with it, and life. You always play a game well when you are enjoying it. Same happens to the mindful. Since they are not too stuck up, too tight, they become better at the game. Money flows to them easily. The irony is that they don’t care as much about it, they are already getting their happiness and enjoyment from playing the game of life!

The mindless go to the gym, get on all the nice equipment, buy the best gym outfits, but never feel inner peace and quiet, in the gym or outside. They may have a well toned body but they are always afraid of not eating the wrong food, always susceptible to losing it all, what they have worked so hard to build. Instead of giving them happiness, this well toned body might make them loose it.

The mindful never have pleasing others as an aim, they don’t feel defined by how their bodies look. They understand that mindfulness requires an alert, healthy body. But this need is not born of the need for social acceptance or winning the praise of others. The mindfuls are not trying to meet any external standards. Since there is no fear involved, they don’t find it difficult to continue. Their only competition is themselves and when they do better than themselves(which can be quite often, you can improve almost everyday) they are satisfied. They do the activities they enjoy – sports, running, swimming, or maybe even gym. They exercise mindfully. Also, exercise makes them more mindful, it can become like meditation. This becomes a self feeding cycle, it can become addictive. Health happens automatically. There is no fearful struggle towards getting healthy or staying healthy. It is just a by product of being mindful ,a natural companion, a natural side effect of a mindful life.

The mindless have to make great efforts to get the most healthy food, they have to check calorie counts on packets, they have to consult their dieticians to decide what and how much to eat. They have cravings that they deny, only to succumb every now and then. This leads to a feeling of guilt and more and harder trying.

The mindful just eat mindfully . Their inner intuition leads them to what the body needs. It also tells them how much they need.

The mindless gather all the cool stuff, the big house, the best cars, the best equipment, the best job. They work hard to earn it because they have always imagined their happiness in it. When they get it, they find all the pleasure in it. But that’s not for long. It doesn’t give happiness for ever. Nothing can give happiness for ever. In fact, as Eckhat Tolle says, every source of pleasure is also a source of pain. This same house, this same stuff causes them pain later, and this becomes frustrating.

When the mindless don’t find happiness anymore in what they have, they have to again start striving for something else. But now they have to carry the burden of all the stuff they have. All their possessions drag them down. To move around, to try new things, you need to be light, free of access stuff.

The mindfuls don’t feel the need for all the stuff. They are not seeking happiness outside, they are already happy and satisfied. I read somewhere – ‘He who knows enough is enough, will have enough’ This holds so much for the mindful. Happiness is in enjoying a few things totally, completely mindfully. It is not in the shallow experience of one thing after another, it is not in the surface skimming of pleasure from all the stuff you can get. It is in deciding to be happy and at peace, here and now!

*****

Decide to be mindful. It is not reserved for saints. all it requires is a constant effort, a constant striving to be so. All it requires is a decision and commitment to the effort. Promise yourself that you will not continue mindlessly for ever. Not trying does not befit you, just feeling bad and helpless does not befit you. You can do it, you can change.

One comment

  • March 6, 2015 - 5:06 pm | Permalink

    Great writing. I look back at life and the so called blueprint of going from childhood to adulthood is mindless. Along the way there are moments of mindfulness. I think we need to teach our children what mindfulness is and let them begin to find their own experience as they embark on their path. The world would be a better place. Great stuff!

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