You’ve heard the word on talk shows or around the water cooler at work, seen it on the cover of Time magazine and books on every shelf, but what is mindfulness? What does it mean? And why is everyone talking about it?
The world is a mess right now; the division and fear and hatred seem to be at an all-time high, all over the news every day and in our own daily personal lives, as well. After millennia on the planet, we seem to be more lost than ever. We are confused, depressed, afraid and in pain. We hide behind our ego as a defense and this causes tension and anger and more depression.
Why? Why are we so lost right now? What is it that has brought us to this point of confusion?
From the beginning of humankind all through history and right up until the modern age, we had religion. We believed, as we were told to, that we were here to live good and true lives and behave as the church told us to and one day we would get to go to heaven. Everything that happened in our lives and on our planet was explained by, “It’s God’s will.”
Whether Christian, Jew, Muslim, Hindu or Sikh, our lives were explained by our religion. There was comfort and direction in that, even though at times it was oppressive and corrupt.
Then along came science. We took the power away from the church and set out on a mission to break down the universe into logical, explainable truths. We decided that we needed to see it to believe it. Everything was simply a matter of science, and magic and mysticism disappeared. Somewhere along our scientific path we lost our sense of wonder and comfort in a higher power. If life isn’t God’s will, then what is it?
So, we got lost. We got separated from our spirituality and forgot about the wonder of the universe. While we were waiting for science to tell us the meaning of life, we got wrapped up in the inertia of everyday living. There was stuff to get done, so we focused on getting it done, and forgot to be alive.
So how does mindfulness fit into all of this? It is a way for us to get back to our spiritual nature and begin actually living our lives instead of our lives living us. Mindfulness is about acknowledging the present, becoming aware and conscious of this moment, just as it is. It is about bringing your mind back to the here and now and consciously living life, moment by moment.
Mindfulness helps you to let go of the past, forget about the future and bring space and clarity to your mind and your life.
With mindfulness there is no altar to worship at, no prophet to immortalize, no symbol of faith. So how do mindful people declare our presence? We needed a symbol – an image that explained the concept of mindfulness and a visual reminder to bring our minds into the here and now.
Enter Giedrius Cibulskis, a Lithuanian graphic artist who was inspired by Eckhart Tolle’s book The Power of Now, which helped him through a dark time in his life and taught him the essence of mindfulness and presence, extreme wakefulness, just being with what is, right now, and being okay with that.
The mindfulness symbol is about time and space, past, present and future. It resembles a water drop, brings you to the present moment, the centre, the drop existing both in and out of the water, part of the water, part of the air. The drop is the present moment, the point of contact, the centre of everything.
Cibulskis made the symbol an open image to everyone to help share the message and create a community around the concept and practice of mindfulness.
You’ll find it on stickers, coffee cups and tattoos, posted on people’s fridges, at their desk at work or on their Facebook page. It is the calling card of every person on a path to peace and freedom, everyone searching for meaning and reason in their lives. Everyone who is striving to live right now, right here.
Take a few conscious, deliberate breaths, plant your feet on the floor, rest your hands in your lap and feel your heartbeat throughout your body. Look at colours and shapes as if for the first time. Find the point of contact of the water drop and live your life instead of your life living you.