Here’s an interesting thought…
If we spend the majority of our day going through the motions, multitasking, and trying to be prepared for life in the next hour – do you think that we will be focused on what is happening in this present moment?
What if something important suddenly happens?
Everyday we’re analyzing what happened in the past and planning for what will happen in the future, but we are not spending enough time focused on the present.
Mindfulness meditation will help you develop presence. Once you develop presence, you can get mental clarity, since you won’t be distracted by your thoughts or surroundings.
Why does this matter?
The Danger Of Distraction.
Have you ever had a dull ringing in your ear?
From the moment we get out of bed we are exposed to flashy distractions designed to give instant gratification. After a time, those distractions sound like dozens of voices, songs, and ideas yelling inside your head.
But it’s way worse than just feeling distracted…
When your brain feels like it won’t quiet down and wants you to think about dozens of things at once, you can feel:
All of these things can be detrimental to achieving your personal and professional goals.
Mental Sets And Reps.
Arnold Schwarzenegger says “everything is sets and reps” and this is true even with mental skills.
Clarity arises when you train yourself to “see through the smoke”. Like anything else, this is a skill that requires practice. Before you can see through the smoke, you will have to first see the smoke.
It’s something people miss out on and they can’t figure out what mindfulness is all about.
Mindfulness Meditation refers to the ability to step away from the current situation and observe what is happening, but without judging or interacting with it
. It requires that you be present in the moment; not in the past, not in the future.
How To Do Mindfulness Meditation.
Here is a simple 10 minute exercise for you to develop presence and start improving your mental clarity:
- Start a timer for 10 minutes and sit upright (a chair or on the floor is fine).
- Close your eyes and try to identify any sounds and smells in the room for a few minutes.
- Now imagine scanning from your head to your toes and try to mentally check in with each body part.
- Start counting your breaths at your normal breathing pace.
- Once you reach 10 breaths, start over at 1.
- After a few minutes, let your mind wander and do not judge.
- When the timer goes off, slowly bring your focus back to yourself, the room around you, and then open your eyes.
- Boom! Done.
Something small, like living in the present moment, can completely transform your life. If you can practice this a few times per week, you will feel your mental muscles become more limber.
Seeing Through The Smoke.
You have started developing your presence - you can now see the smoke, but we’re not finished!
Seeing the smoke just means that you can step back and see the thoughts trying to rush into your head. The next step is to see through the smoke. This happens when you continue to practice mindfulness meditation.
Practicing mindfulness will sharpen your mental clarity.
Imagine that you’re at work and suddenly someone comes to you with an urgent problem. Your brain gets flooded with excuses, potential causes, and potential solutions. You have two choices:
- Allow all the information to drown you in thoughts and anxiety, OR
- Acknowledge all the information, but instead of chasing each possible problem, you are able to see the root cause more clearly because you rejected the distractions - you saw through the smoke
It feels awkward at first, but every skill requires investment. If you want to get good at doing pull ups, guess what, you have to do more pull ups. If you want to train your mind to resist distraction and remain focused on what is happening in the present, you have to practice it.
You may encounter a sticking point while you develop this skill. Don't worry, it is part of the process! If you find yourself meditating and suddenly you're running after a series of thoughts, acknowledge it and then bring the focus back to the present moment.
"The moment you realize you are not present, you are present" - Eckhart Tolle
Use mindfulness meditation and be the blade of grass in the wind. You have the mental strength and flexibility to bend, but not break.
How does meditation benefit your life? Did you encounter a sticking point along the way? Leave us a comment and let us know!
Josh Carlyle loves writing and believes he is born for it. He is a UK born man who has lived and worked in the USA which has been a constant source of inspiration for topics he writes about on his blog - topics which include personal development, eLearning and marketing.