The intentional practice and application of mindfulness — or present awareness — has existed for millions of years, but was historically reserved for very few people. Nowadays mainstream culture is increasingly adopting this knowledge from religious traditions, along with an approach to life that integrates the practice of paying attention to all experience. That is to say, consciously observing our experiences -- what we perceive, what we think, the feelings that arise -- without judgement nor reaction, regardless of what surfaces.
In the words of the psychologist Victor Frankl: "Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”
The practice of mindfulness enlarges this space, nurturing our innate (though perhaps obstructed) ability to freely make decisions that align with our natural will, and without the interference of excessive second-guessing or self-consciousness.
To break the chains of uncertainty or unreflecting compulsion, we seek out the ways in which our mind may serve us, rather than owning us. Many of us are trapped in the indecision and relentless fragmentation of neurotic thinking: What should I say or do? Will I be able to or not? Is it worthwhile or not? Freedom from the dilemmas posed by the everyday mind resides in a deeper part of ourselves that may require effort to tap into.
Remember that within your core resides a deeper and wiser consciousness -- the same that connects all life. And even the crazy sum total of all your conditioned thoughts can disrupt that consciousness only at its periphery, while its powerful center remains untouched within you.
The practice of observing yourself, and observing the world with acceptance and without judgement, can take you to touch life at its deepest place, so you can find your heart in each step.