Some people, when asked if they would consider practicing mindfulness, would almost immediately respond: "But I can't sit still for even one minute!"
A common misconception about mindfulness, is that the practice requires one to sit quietly, cross-legged on the floor, with your eyes closed, and... basically do nothing. You are not allowed to move or talk, and you are supposed to empty your mind.
The truth is that a mindfulness practice is far from doing nothing. In fact, there really is a lot of work involved. It might look like a practitioner is just sitting there, not thinking, not feeling. But there is so much more to the experience.
In a typical mindfulness practice, we are training our mind to focus and pay attention to the present moment; we are observing the nature of our mind systematically and non-judgmentally; we are inviting curiosity into the experience and learning to accept that whatever that comes up we are okay with it. We are developing the capacity to watch the endless stream thoughts and emotions in our mind without engaging with or reacting to them. We are cultivating patience, building compassion, and collecting moments of equanimity.
Mindfulness is also not just practiced sitting. We regularly practice mindful walking, and do gentle stretching or balancing movements mindfully. Mindfulness should also be practiced in daily life - when we are eating, showering, driving, cooking, sweeping, working, or conversing with someone.
What other possible misconceptions of mindfulness do you think we could address?
Learn and practice mindfulness with us at our 8-Week Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Program.
About The Author
MiMo founder Erin Lee is a Mindfulness Coach and MBSR Teacher at Mindful Moments, and advocate of mindfulness as the way of life. She conducts the classic 8-Week MBSR Program, as well as the 8-Week MBSR Workplace Program.
Are you a mindfulness practitioner and have meaningful experiences or thoughts about mindfulness that you'd like to share? You can contribute an article on the MiMo blog! Please contact Erin to find out more.