The power of mindfulness, awareness, and simple being
When I learned more about the functioning of our nervous system, I discovered that we actually can consciously choose its support to balance ourselves. Whenever I calmed myself using my breathing, my body-awareness, and a conscious response to an unpleasant situation, I activated the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS).
An activated PNS relaxes us and enables a different way of experiencing. It also inspires us to go deeper within relaxation.
Defining meditation terms
Mindfulness: According to Jon Kabat-Zinn, “To be in relationship to what you are going through, to hold it, and, in some sense, to befriend it—that is where the healing or transformative power of the practice of mindfulness lies. When we can actually be where we are, not trying to find another state of mind, we discover deep internal resources we can make use of. Coming to terms with things as they are is my definition of healing.”
We can do nearly everything in a mindful way, with a mind that notices what is and what we are doing right in that particular moment. If we do so, we are right there, we experience the moment as it is. With time, being mindful creates the habit of living in this way more often. The more we practice this, the easier it will be. Mindfulness can become an option in our daily life.
Awareness: According to Adyashanti, “Awareness is always there, but it doesn’t do you much good until you bring consciousness to it, even for brief moments. You can allow yourself to have a time when you just dwell in that inner resource of the “only-ness” of awareness, that awareness is only aware. Within awareness, things tend to find their equilibrium again.”
Within our awareness everything can come and go
We use our ability to be aware in an ordinary way in order to do what we have to do. With awareness we cook a meal, drive a car. We can be aware of something in particular, but we can also be aware of just this moment, this situation as it is. And finally, we can just be, we can just rest as awareness.
Just being: In a time and world where doing is so important, it can be a relief to just be. Often we long for such times, but don’t really see them as an option for us. Just being may feel luxurious and absolutely not within reach.
Terms like awareness and mindfulness, presence and meditation are just terms, in the end. The important thing is: what do these terms feel like and how can we learn to find our own meaning for these terms?
I feel like “just being” allows me to do that: to go on my own route in my own experience. There is no goal and no right or wrong. It can be as simple as just stopping for a moment, breathing, noticing… and then life goes on.