“A great entry point for treating ourselves with kindness is mindfulness, which can be simply defined as moment-by-moment awareness. Like grounding, . . mindfulness is such a powerful tool . . . because research shows us that attention actually shapes our brains, even in adulthood.”- Aundi Kolber
“I look to you, heaven-dwelling God, look to you for help. Like servants, alert to their master’s commands; like a maiden attending to her lady. We’re watching and waiting, holding our breath, awaiting your word of mercy.”- Psalm 123:1-2 (MSG)
Aundi Kolber moves on in Chapter 6 of Try Softer as she stresses that nonjudgmental attention serves as the foundation of mindfulness. Certainly, Aundi notes, many Christians use this practice with an intention to connect with God. Hence, for centuries, Christian mystics and contemplatives have engaged in spiritual practices like centering and breathing prayers, Scripture meditation, and lecto divina.
In addition, mindfulness includes awareness of both internal and external things. As a result, overlap exists in the meaning of contemplative Christian practices and secular/non-Christian ones. Of course, we know that God holds it all (see Romans 11:26). Furthermore, the Catholic priest Richard Rohr explains it this way:
“If you are present, you will eventually and always experience the Presence.”
Therefore, as we work to be mindful, we must respond rather than react with our attention. Pema Chodron uses this metaphor to describe the dynamic of a mindful stance: “You are the sky. Everything else – – it’s just the weather.”
Above all, we need to increase our ability to observe something without becoming emotionally hijacked. Thus, the intensity of the experience fails to overwhelm us. And the more we practice trying softer, the easier it gets.
Finally, Aundi reminds us, the key to a mindful stance involves simply noticing what enters our awareness. Instead of reacting to it in judgment. Because it’s hard to build toward compassion — toward ourselves or others — if we always see everything around us through highly critical eyes.
Today’s question: How do you practice mindfulness, a great entry point of trying softer? Please share.
Tomorrow’s blog: ” A mindful posture – maintaining it toward the storm”