Discover how to stay present in your life by understanding the 7 mental attitudes of Mindfulness.
In its natural state, the mind is a constant and incessant thinking machine that disconnects us from reality and the present moment. This is why, an untrained mind leads us to unconsciously repeat behavioral patterns that we don’t like. And most of these attitudes are the fruit of our social, cultural and family conditioning rather than the result of conscious actions.
Mindfulness practices can bring light to these mental patterns inviting us to live from a space of awareness in connection with our Being.
Let’s find out what these 7 mental attitudes of Mindfulness are and how to shift from a modality of Doing to Being.
1. Acting on autopilot vs Acting with awareness
Has it happened to you that on your way to work, you are lost in thinking that you don’t even realize you are driving a car? Or that you do simple activities such as having a shower, brushing your teeth or washing dishes in a completely automatic way that you don’t realize what is happening around you?
Many times during our day we carry out activities on automatic pilot, thus losing connection with the present moment. Our mental stories about the past or future disconnect us from what is happening Here and Now. And the result is that we lose much of our life in the illusion of the mind.
Going from the modality of Doing to that of Being implies becoming aware of our lives. It also invites us to observe when we enter the automatic pilot mode in order to return our attention to what is happening inside and outside of us: our breath, our body and what we perceive through the senses. This allows us to observe reality from a space of inner clarity (what really is and not what is in our mind) and align our intentions to our actions.
2. Fight vs Accept
Our mind has a tendency to judge reality and we get disappointed when things are not as we would like them to be. The risk here is to close ourselves to receiving the learning that each moment brings to us and to empower what happens on the outside to determine how we feel on the inside. Thus falling in a vision of life based on results and not on the experience of each moment.
When we allow ourselves to suspend our judgments and open up to observe reality as it is, we connect with the wisdom of the present moment. This does not mean to resign ourselves in some way, but rather to regain control of our inner experience avoiding to lose ourselves in negative mental spirals.
3. Treating thoughts as real events vs Treating them as mental events
Think of all the times you have worried and / or got stressed about something that never happened: what if I fail the exam? What if they fire me? What if he/she says no? Etc. These thoughts often become so “real” that we behave as if they have really happened, leading us to suffer unnecessarily and make wrong decisions.
Mindfulness practices allow us to understand that thoughts are only thoughts and that they happen only in our mind. This allows us to free ourselves from a false reality and to regain a clearer vision of ourselves and our life.
4. Avoid vs Find
The mind is constantly looking for what we like and produces pleasure while avoiding what we do not like and produces pain. Although this is a characteristic of the human being, in reality this attitude consumes a great amount of our energy by rejecting or avoiding reality.
Learning to accept reality as it is and receive our pain, sadness, grief, and discomfort with an open heart is one of the fundamental practices of Mindfulness. We learn to observe our emotions and feelings with a Loving-Kindness attitude. This implies putting aside our judgments and desires, and opening ourselves to love and compassion. In this way, we are free to live each moment with an attitude of curiosity and empathy towards ourselves and others.
5. Analyze vs Perceive
One of the characteristics of the human mind is the tendency to continuously plan, analyze and remember the past. When this attitude is pushed to the extreme, we seriously risk to live in our thoughts and completely lose contact with our body and with what happens around us.
Think about the last time you have had a problem or a worrying situation and you will see what I am talking about: the mind goes in loops without being able to stop thinking the same thing over and over again, thus taking us in a spiral of mental confusion. To get out of this, it is necessary to return our attention to the present moment and connect with our feelings. This will allow us to build confidence in ourselves and in our intuition.
6. Being lost in our mind vs Being in the present moment
The mind moves incessantly between past and future, preparing our next action or constantly reliving the past. Because of this attitude, stress is an inevitable consequence. When we begin to focus our attention on the present moment we learn to see the past and the future for what they really are and we learn to observe our mental stream of thoughts without being attached to them.
Mindfulness meditation allows us to train our mind to realize when we get distracted, so we can return to Here and Now with patience and love. Living in the present moment allows us to enjoy what life has to offer, instead of getting lost in a mental reality that does not exist and that very often causes us unnecessary suffering and stress.
7. Activities taking away energy vs Activities providing energy
When we are focused only on the modality of Doing, we are constantly busy in achieving, obtaining, demonstrating and acquiring. We are in a constant search for “more” that eventually leads ourselves and our society in general to physical, mental and emotional imbalances such as exhaustion, stress, anxiety, worry and dissatisfaction.
Because of this attitude, many of us have forgotten another part of our life that does not respond to the logic of consumption. Instead it responds to our needs as human beings to enjoy, be, feel and connect with ourselves and our surroundings.
Walking in nature, meditating, relaxing, talking, enjoying each other’s company and laughing are all activities that not only fill and recharge our energy but allow us to be even more efficient when we have to work or perform an important duty.
Which of these 7 mental attitudes of Mindfulness do you identify with the most?
What can you do to bring more presence into your life?
If you want to start bringing more presence in your life download HERE your Free Yin Yoga & Mindfulness journal “7 days to reduce stress and gain mental clarity, peace and creativity.”