Cultivating Mindfulness

"Developing inner values is much like physical exercise. The more we train our abilities, the stronger they become. The difference is that, unlike the body, when it comes to training the mind, there is no limit to how far we can go." ~His Holiness the Dalai Lama

Having had the opportunity to be in several small gatherings with His Holiness and leading scientists discussing the theoretical evidence of contemplation, compassion, altruism and consciousness, I have been in awe of the impact of mindfulness on humanity. When each of us takes responsibility for being aware of our thoughts, feelings and motivations, we are empowered to change ourselves, which changes the world. Mindfulness creates the space for us to be in our bodies, in the present moment and aware of our consciousness. From this zone, we can choose not to project onto others, not to react to our triggers and to regulate our emotions. We can choose to live the life we want to live, the live we envision.

Mindfulness is easy to accomplish if you are willing to cultivate practices just as you would commit to the routines that keep you physically fit. Mindfulness practices are simple and fun. They are not religious and certainly not about Buddhism, as His Holiness frequently reminds us. They are about being aware of your awareness with neutrality, paying attention in the now without judgment. Meditation, which includes many forms, is one way of developing the muscle of mindfulness. There are many other simple practices that will shift you into mindfulness, which can become your automatic operating system, if you commit to the practice of developing that muscle or way of being.

What would you be like if you trained your brain to be mindful? What would life be like you were able to be aware and neutral as you engaged in the world?