Dying Daily #223: Mindfulness in a Modern World

This entire month will be dedicated to an exploration of what a mindful lifestyle looks like in our modern, technologically-dominated world.

How do we remain mindful in the midst of social media, screaming clickbait news sites, Sirius Radio, 10,000 channels, Netflix, Hulu, Reddit, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat? How do we remain present and open in the face of bills, our jobs, our bosses, our employees, our children, our spouses and everyone else we run into? What does mindfulness even mean in this context?

The cool thing about mindfulness is that it is always available to us, it is waiting to be activated so that it can help us come into the truth of the moment. There is no special trick to it, it is always ours to claim. You just have to recognize when you are distracted.

That’s it. Once you recognize you are distracted, you are mindful.

The trick is maintaining this, especially in the face of so different things fighting for our attention, but it gets easier and easier with practice.

Mindfulness is simply a nonjudgmental engagement with our experience on a moment-to-moment basis. It is an acceptance of everything that is happening right here and right now, because nothing else exists outside of the imagination.

This is all about learning to be in the present, as it is, without the layer of removal that thinking always brings. It isn’t about our thoughts on the present, but simply experiencing the present exactly as it is. This isn’t about detachment from our lives, but about really experiencing them, without the detachment of our thoughts about what is going on. It is about stepping away from the running commentary on our lives.

You can do this right now.

Notice what you see around you, but without judgments about it. Not “clean” or “messy” or “pretty” or “ugly”, just let things be things.

Notice what you are hearing, but without judgments. Let the sounds be sounds, no good or bad about them.

Notice the temperature of the air around you. Not “hot” or “cold” or “warm” or “cool”,  just air. Just as it is. Notice how you experience it differently on different parts of your skin.

Notice the running commentary in your head on all of this, but also notice how you don’t have to buy into it. You don’t have to attach to it or feed it. You don’t have to reject it either. It can just be there.

Let this moment be exactly as it is, perfect and untouched. Let successive moments be the same.

That’s it. You were mindful during that brief exercise. There is nothing magical about it.

It really is just about being with each moment as it is.

Over the next month we’ll look at what mindfulness meditation is, and how mindfulness applies to different aspects of our modern world.

Questions and comments are always welcome, thank you for reading.