9 Quick and Easy Mindfulness Practices
Paying Attention on Purpose
9 Quick and Easy Mindfulness Practices – Paying Attention on Purpose – Why should you pay attention on purpose?
Mindfulness invites intentionality when it comes to paying attention. Even without any mindfulness training, you do become present from time to time during the day.
Especially when you are doing something new, or when someone else asks you to pay attention. But most of the time, it is an external event that triggers you to pay attention.
It is not a good idea to rely on external events or chance, to trigger you to be present.
Being present is something you have to be able to do on your own.
Otherwise, it is not helpful.
That is why it is helpful to be intentional about paying attention. External events triggering you to pay attention are okay, but you have to be able to intentionally do it on your own as well!
Non-Judgmental Nature of the Mind
And now we go to the last factor, which is the non-judgmental attitude.
The default human nature is such that
as soon as you perceive a stimulus, as soon as you see, hear, taste, smell or touch something, your mind creates a label, a category or a judgment about that perception.
And this happens completely at a subconscious level. You rarely have a conscious realization of this.
For example, you walk into a shop and you look at an outfit, your mind immediately goes ‘a cute outfit’, or ‘an ugly outfit’. You notice a stranger’s face and your mind goes ‘pretty girl’, ‘a handsome guy’.
At times your mind doesn’t react or reacts neutrally. But for the most part, the mind is continuously generating such labels, mental words or categories as you go through daily experiences.
This is an evolutionary adaptation. When you accidentally touch a hot stove, your mind instinctively reacts with unpleasantness and even before you realize it takes action to save your life!
That can be thought of an extreme form of reaction or judgment. But for majority of experiences, the mind reacts similarly, “I like it” or “I don’t like it” or “I don’t care”.
Because normally you are not aware of the mind’s reactions or subconscious judgments, you fully identify with it.
You register either “a cute outfit” or an “ugly outfit”. You register either a “pretty gal” or an “ugly guy”. But first of all it is just an outfit. Or it is just a gal or just a guy. But that’s not how your mind registers it.
This tendency of your mind to create labels, judgments and mental voices in reaction to a perceived stimulus, creates a barrier where you are not able to see things as they are.
But now you perceive things through this veil of categories, labels and judgments.
Because you can’t see things as they are, it turns out like driving in a fog. It becomes the source of many problems in life.
The 4th factor of non-judgmental attitudes actually invites us to become aware of this nature of your mind where it is continuously and subconsciously judging all the experiences.
The non-judgmental attitude doesn’t mean you force yourself to stop the judgements. It is a bit of a misnomer in that sense. This judging nature of your mind is a highly conditioned phenomenon.
Your mind has engaged in that type of behavior ever since you were born. It is not like a switch which can be turned off easily.
Given that, what you do is you bring awareness to the judging nature of mind, rather than trying to force it to stop. Which you can’t.
You also try not to judge the judgments.
At least bring awareness of mind’s reactions.
Behavioral Health Rehabilitative Specialist & Addiction Counselor