There are lots of misconceptions about what it means to live mindfully.
Somehow we have the idea that being present means we won’t ever speak harshly, or impulse shop or eat the whole bag of chips.
Being present doesn’t mean we always make good choices. Quite the opposite. Being present simply means that we are aware of our choices in the moment. There is a conscious opportunity to choose. What we do with that opportunity is up to us. Sometimes we choose well and other times not so much.
If that’s the case, what’s the point of a mindfulness practice?
When we are not present, then there is no opportunity to choose. We act on autopilot and engage in our default behaviours. We react rather being intentional. We continue to do what we have always done. And then in a moment of wakefulness we realize what we did and feel annoyed that we didn’t make a different choice.
Viktor Frankl perhaps summed it up best:
Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.
Allow yourself to step mindfully into that space. Slow yourself down so you can choose consciously. And in those instances when you mindfully make a poorer choice, take comfort in knowing that is just an opportunity for growth. Being aware of our choices gives us insight into our deeper motivations. I speak harshly because I feel threatened. I buy shoes I don’t need because I am filling a void. I overeat because I am hurt. Ultimately we set ourselves free when we recognize our feelings and allow ourselves to experience them.
The more you practice being in the space of the moment, the more you will recognize the opportunities to choose differently than you have in the past. Then you get to make the choice. Whatever you choose, it still a win-win.
Take a moment to post a comment and share your thoughts on choosing in the moment.
NOTE This blog post is part of the series A Year of Living Mindfully. You will find other posts in this series in the mindfulness category.