In these uncertain times, when we’re compelled to decipher what is real news from what is “fake news,” who is principled from who is corrupt, and which pursuits are honorable from which are dishonorable, many of us feel rudderless. We’re continuously bombarded with stress-inducing messages through advertising, mass-media, and entrenched leaders. All the confusion leaves us uncertain about where to turn and who to believe.
Now more than ever, it’s important to set our own standards of what feels real, authentic, and healthy for us. I feel passionate about the power of Mindfulness for not only heightening our awareness, but also raising our consciousness — both individually, and collectively. Mindfulness lets us access a broader awareness that, instead of amplifying the stress, can actually ease it. We’re better able to put our anxiety in perspective and can mindfully find our way through the stress so that we can regain a sense of calm and centeredness.
But we must make a concerted effort to practice present moment awareness. If we aren’t present and aware, we stand a greater chance of remaining unconscious, which proposes a serious threat to our humanity. History has shown us, as it did in World War II, that when people are unconscious or unaware of dysfunction and looming darkness, they can easily be taken over by ill-intentioned forces and catastrophic consequences can occur.
Practicing Mindfulness is a skill each of us inherently has, but we don’t necessarily use. To strengthen that skill, we must get off our devices and intentionally embark on contemplative practices like mediating, yoga, or sitting quietly — even if it’s for just 10 minutes a day. We can take time to apply Mindfulness in all that we do. It can be eating slowly and really tasting our food without rushing, or taking a leisurely walk and paying close attention to the sounds of nature around us.
By training our minds to be more present, we’ll find ourselves much more appreciative of the moments of our life, and less inclined to rush through them. We’ll be better able to decipher what nourishes our spirit and what depletes it, and to unite with our authentic selves. Mindfulness helps us become more certain of what is real and authentic and what is not.
When we’re our most authentic selves, others sense something captivating about us, which is essentially our realness. When others see us as calm and confident and unafraid to be ourselves, it can inspire them to do the same.
Use these techniques as you cultivate your own Mindfulness practice:
1. Take breaks from the news. The news and social media outlets churn out a constant barrage of alarming stories and speculations. Don’t let yourself binge watch. Check in for only a short time once each day, and then turn your mind to what’s happening in your present moment and the “news” welling up from your spiritual core.
2. Focus on centering thoughts. Even while war rages, viruses permeate, and leaders clash, it’s important to not heighten the stress of these catastrophic events. Rein in any thoughts that project negativity. Instead, focus on thoughts that are centering and grounding, such as “This too shall pass.”
3. Tap into your spiritual self. French philosopher Pierre Teilhard de Chardin said that we are “spiritual beings having a human experience.” Remind yourself that your spirit knows more than your human self, and you mustn’t let your human experience run the show. Make quiet time for yourself to connect to this wisdom. Breathe in slowly and out slowly several times. As you breathe, say to yourself: “I am present… I am in the now… I am a spiritual being.”
By practicing these Mindfulness techniques, you can ease the stress of these stressful times. You have the means within you to stay in the present and to connect to a broader perspective and more insightful understanding of the world around you. For times like these, Mindfulness offers a restorative path to your calm center.