Excerpts from     Does Mindfulness Stress You Out?.

What Is Mindfulness?

………….“We are not trying to actively achieve a state of deep relaxation or any other state for that matter, while practicing mindfulness… But increasingly, by opening to an awareness of how things actually are in the present moment, we often taste very deep states of relaxation and well-being-of both body and mind.”

Perhaps it’s helpful to list a few terms that point to the essence of mindfulness:

  • Awareness
  • Presence
  • “Being” rather than “doing”
  • Quieting the mind
  • Stillness
  • Attentiveness
  • Non-judgmental noticing

Mindfulness is not a modern spiritual movement. It’s not a new-age fad. It’s simply you at your most natural state of being. It’s a practical everyday phenomenon that you’ve already experienced without even labeling it. Have you ever just stared into the flame of a flickering candle? Or the intricate petals of a flower? Have you watched the twitching nose of a sleeping puppy? That was mindfulness. It required nothing of you other than to be there.

Then Why Does The Concept Stress Me Out?

There’s a lot of pressure to be perfectionist in our pursuits. Perhaps you’ve read a book or watched the news and internalized someone else’s idea of what it means to be mindful. Maybe you tried it a few times and determined that your experience didn’t match up with their description of what it should feel like. So you got frustrated and you quit. “It’s too hard.” “I’m terrible at it.”

I’m here to say that you’re not terrible at it. You don’t have to subscribe to a method, you don’t have to attend a retreat, you don’t have to spend any money, and you don’t have to expect a certain outcome. That statement will threaten a lot of people- the money makers, the retreat schedulers, the devout practitioners of a certain faith. Frankly, I don’t care. I’m not a shareholder.

So How Should I Approach It?

Like I mentioned earlier, try staring into a gently flickering flame. Pick a flower and explore its perfect imperfections. Engage your senses by smelling the flower, feeling its petals, noticing how your feet come into contact with the floor, the entire experience of just being in that moment.

………….Your mindfulness practice doesn’t have to be involved with right or wrong. It doesn’t have to feel a certain way or produce a certain result. Maybe it will have certain results – and you can simply notice those as they arise. In that moment.