Mindfulness is Not...

All month, we have learned about what mindfulness is and how to apply it to life. I hope that you have gleaned some moments of mindfulness this month to help begin or continue your journey to a more present life through our community’s stories.

As we approach the end of our journey together (or, I should say, the beginning,) it is important to note some common misconceptions about mindfulness.

Mindfulness is not just a tool to use when you are stressed.

Although mindfulness is a great way to cope with stress, it is a tool that you can use to enjoy moments of calm, joy, and kindness as well.

“Use it as a tool to explore kindness and curiosity,” said Jessica Morey, founder of Inward Bound Mindfulness Education, a nonprofit that brings mindfulness training to youth.

Mindfulness is not a religion.

Mindfulness is a secular practice that does not conflict with any religious practice. It is simply a technique to live life with more curiosity and compassion towards ourselves and others. It is simply paying attention on purpose.

Mindfulness is not just meditation.

Meditation, just like yoga, is a form of mindfulness. You do not have to meditate to be mindful, although it could enhance your mindfulness journey. Think of mindfulness as the root, and meditation, yoga, or other mindful practices as the branches.

Mindfulness does not always lead to calm.

When you practice mindfulness, you can often experience serenity or calm. However, the experience is the journey, not the destination. Mindfulness is about noticing anything we are feeling, any experience we are having, or any thoughts that come up, good or bad, and accepting them just the same.

So, let go of this expectation of calm each time you practice mindfulness. Life is messy and we experience negative emotions in our ives. Living mindfully means seeing the mess without judgement and experiencing the negative emotions just as we experience the positive ones, with an open mind and heart.

Letting what is, be.

What other misconceptions do you encounter about mindfulness? Share them with us in the comments below.