Mindfulness is a term that I've had a hard time connecting with over the years. When I read books by meditators and philosophers who speak of it, I lose some of their meaning. A book that I recently came across is helping me with that concept: Turning the Mind into an Ally, by Sakyong Mipham.
In it he writes: “Mindfulness is what we use to hold our minds to any object—the breath, a rock, or a banana—and awareness is the intelligence that tells us what we are doing.”
In this moment, mindfulness holds me to the subject, circumventing my instinct to get up and make a cup of tea because I can’t think of what to write. I am aware that my mind wants to leap away from the subject. It is mindfulness that keeps drawing the mind back to the subject.
The mind has been telling me that the word mindfulness doesn't mean anything. My higher self wants to practice mindfulness, to find my roots in the present moment (which is what mindfulness naturally leads to) but my mind dashes off sideways, declaring that focusing on the present moment with mindfulness is not important.
I didn't write at all last week. My commitment to myself is to write at least once a week, and more when possible. Every time I thought of it, my mind went blank. There was no mindfulness, only mind leaping away.
As I have said before, mind is a tool. It is a fabulous tool. But it does need to be trained. We need to develop strength of mind, the ability to choose where to put our focus and to hold it there. Mindfulness is the word that describes that process and that state of being. The more that we practice mindfulness, in even the smallest things, the more we strengthen our mind. The more we strengthen our mind, the more we can center and hold our attention on the Divine. And when we can do that, all else flows with love. We are then held in quiet joy.