Whether it is on the field of professional sport or in the Buddhist temple, you will find exponents of the art of mindfulness. Mindfulness – the exact opposite of mindlessness – is the only key you need to unlock a life of peace, calm and effortless success. Doesn’t matter what kind of success you have in mind, if you develop mindfulness, what most occupies your mind will come about – not through you simply wishing for it to happen (and doing, as some books suggest, nothing to bring it about yourself!!) – but through the ongoing daily practice and development of mindfulness.
What is mindfulness? Well, for simplicity, let me start by telling you what it’s not!! As I’ve already said, it’s the exact opposite of mindlessness. So what – surely few people are truly mindless! Alas, that is far from the case – seventy years psychological research proves beyond any doubt – and from a variety of different perspectives – that at least 96% of us, so-called “normal” people, live mindless lives, day in, day out. The research proves that “normal” people perform all their repetitive tasks (and all tasks become repetitive sooner or later) automatically, without paying them any attention whatsoever. The research proves that “normal” people only pay 1% attention to where they are and what they’re supposed to be doing, in the present moment – the only time and place either you or I have. The research proves that “normal” people only perceive what they expect to perceive and that anything beyond their field of expectation simply goes by unperceived. The research proves that the “normal” person’s life is controlled and created by their subconscious mind which is generally focused in their past.
I could go on – but I believe that the quick snapshot of “normal” people above proves beyond doubt that most of us go through each day mindlessly – the exact opposite of mindfully.
Mindfulness is simply being more attentive to the present moment, to what you are doing in the here and now, to what you are perceiving through your five senses. Your five senses represent the only “interface” you have with the outside world and are, as such, the cornerstone of your ability to be mindful. Unfortunately, normal people pay no attention to their five senses. Rather, when they receive sensory information (this is called cognition) they add their internal subconscious knowledge to that sensory information and perceive what they think is happening, not what is actually happening. This application of so-called stored knowledge to external sensory data is called recognition. We recognise what’s going on for what we think it is – not what it actually is – based on the focus of our subconscious mind (which, as we’ve already said, is focused in the past).
So, mindfulness is simply being more present (than the pathetic 1% presence of normal people) in the present moment. It is not being “single-minded” about what one wants to achieve. It is not being “focused” on one’s goals. It has nothing to do with believing (or not) in your abilities – it has nothing to do with positive thinking (which is simply more thinking that distances from the reality of the present moment) – it is simply being attentive to whatever it is you are doing, wherever it is you find yourself, whoever you find yourself with, in this present moment – and in every present moment.
And that is why so many of my clients get so frustrated when their efforts to develop their mindfulness become derailed. We are bound to be derailed regularly, every day. The cards are not stacked in our favour when it comes to living the mindful life. We have an adult lifetime of so-called normal behaviour – and that’s wilfully acting against our best efforts at mindfulness. We are surrounded by normality wherever we go – the easy temptation is to be normal too. Normal people are behaving mindlessly all around us – it is so difficult not to react along with them. And, so, we fall daily in our efforts to be more centred, more calm, more mindful. But none of this is relevant to mindfulness in the present moment. So what if I lost my head earlier in the day – it’s in the past. So what if I’ve had an awful morning where I got nothing done – it’s the afternoon , it’s now. So what if I am frustrated by my inability to be mindful in the moment – my frustration is the only thing that’s standing in my way to being mindful.
Why is mindfulness the only key you need to achieve effortless success? Mindfulness makes you abnormally present to the present moment – you have presence and presence is both impressive and impactful on those around you. Making an impression makes you more attractive – to the people and events that will lead you along the path towards success. But, most of all, mindfulness means that you will perceive what is actually going on – you will perceive the unexpected, the opportunities that normal people cannot perceive – and it is that level of awareness that will lead you to places that normal people cannot go – towards abnormal success.
Copyright (c) 2009 Willie Horton
Willie Horton’s acclaimed two-day personal development seminars have been running for thirteen years. He teaches that a clear and present state of mind creates extra-ordinary personal and business success. His vast expertise is now available in his Online Workshop at Gurdy.Net. His website also offers daily free personal development video seminars, articles and a Free Personal Development Ezine published every Monday morning.