Quote - the more you strive for happiness.jpg

Many people describe mindfulness as simply awareness, and awareness is a large component of adopting a mindful approach to life. But there are several qualities to mindfulness that differentiate it from our normal understanding of awareness. 

Often in daily life, when we make a conscious effort to be aware, this awareness is tinged with aspects of judgement, a sense of either liking or disliking what we're perceiving and a constant mental narrative about what it is we're aware of. So much of what we do is purpose driven - with an approach of having to do something, get somewhere, be a particular someone. And we're often drawn towards trying to change things somehow - to better fit our version of how they should be.

Mindfulness is paying attention, in the current moment, to whatever is arising.  If we have an aching back, we have an aching back. If we're suffering emotional pain, we're in pain. If we sit down to meditate and we feel tense and restless, then we can simply note that there is tension. And we can do all of this with a sense of non-striving - understanding that whether we like it or not, this is what is present right now, without having to change it. This is a real challenge for many of us, and very, very different from the way we often approach things.

Ultimately mindfulness (and the practice of meditation) is about non-striving. It has no other goal other than for you to be exactly where you are, and as you are - and to be aware of that. As soon as you start trying to change things to be some other way, you have introduced into your mind the notion that you are not okay, simply as you are right now.

It is fine to have goals and aspirations, but often you'll find that if you hold them just a little less tightly, you'll achieve them just as quickly, and with a lot less stress to you and those around you. The present moment is the only moment you have to be aware, and fully live and grow and change. And starting with becoming aware of how things are in the present moment with a sense of openness, curiosity and acceptance, will move you quite some way towards allowing life to unfold in its own way and its own time.