Here are 3 scenarios; can you relate to them?
- You are driving on a long road trip and your mind is lost in thoughts of places, events, and deadlines. Suddenly you “awake” and realize you have missed your highway exit!
- You are annoyed by, and debating, the political scene in your mind when suddenly you “awake,” finding yourself feeling and acting unduly agitated by other’s opinions.
- You are loudly voicing a frustrated response to an otherwise highly regarded family member and “awaken” suddenly with a feeling of guilt for your unintended behavior.
Each time, the chances are that you have been blindly taken away by and reacting with an addicted emotional response. In deep thought, you’re not aware of your “self.”
When we focus on agendas, emotions, and objectives without seeing ourselves clearly as others see us, we are not “awake.” That is, we are not aware of our addicted behavior. It is very easy to get lost in goals, haste, and timelines. All of which dull “witnessing” our behavior as a passerby might see us. We might be so frustrated with a task that we block it out of our mind as we race to its completion, our awareness being blinded by fear, anger, boredom or any emotion that keeps us from being “awake.”
Mindfulness, Being Aware of the Now:
In Buddhism, being awake is referred to as Mindfulness. It is the ability to see yourself in an activity as you proceed with, through the process and not just the final objective. It has also been referred to by many writers as living in the “Now”; staying in the present, moment by moment, as you act with awareness through a witnessing of your behavior.
Mindfulness offers a clear glimpse of “how I function,” and how I can come to enjoy life’s work at hand without “checking out of the present moments” and into the past through memories, or into the future. It is “my being with” my self-reflection and attention to how I am interacting and functioning, summarily, how awake and aware I am of my very being and my behavior.
3 Ways Mindfulness Helps Us Realize a Special Sense of Peace
Awareness is a preparation for our day, a way to mentally monitor and control our behavior and thereby our self-esteem through reflection of how much we recall our behavior. Through this “awake-ness” we, 1) tame the “monkey-mind” of random thought, 2) manage the emotional level and impact of our thoughts, and 3) realize a sense of peace through our ability to “witness” ourselves and have clear images of our actions and reactions.
All of this is especially true in American society as we try to keep up with the pace of life, the competition for resources, and the constant quest for recognition or fame. Awareness is a form of non-religious spirituality; the ability to do “Good.” It is, finally, a way to be comfortably “open” with the world and to relate to the most positive aspects of humanity and then act with love.
Learn more about Buddhism in Buddhism Made Plain by Antony Fernando PhD., with Leonard Swidler PhD.