Right after I hit my twenties, I was losing control. Slowly, but surely losing control over the important things in life. It was all fun and games till I was in my college where I did not have to take control over my life and I was in a learning phase. But as soon as college was over for me and it was time to step into the “real world”, this “real world” was hitting me hard.
Sometimes when I sat in contemplation as to what next, I would realize, how safe and comfortable the college walls were. We were free to speak our minds, ask questions whenever we wanted, received therapy for small issues that seemed so problematic. There were wiser people than ourselves and our only job was to learn all that we could, from these wise people. As soon as we tossed our graduation hats up in the air, we realized our easy jobs were over, and we had to start making tough decisions in life.
We take these tough decisions that lead us to situations, emotions and feelings that we had never seen coming. And that is the time when you realize just how much scared and weak you are. But the inherent human nature that tells us to be strong and to fight the fight doesn’t let us think practically at those indecisive moments and we find ourselves making decisions based on paper ideals. An idealistic perception that was leading us away from acknowledging the darker side of human nature.
Right when I found myself battling with the world, the people to keep my idealistic side alive, I was becoming a victim of existentialism. We have all found ourselves in this existentialist dread one time or the other, haven’t we?
This is where words hurt us, where parting becomes a rhetorical curse that has fallen upon us. And our mind is in so many pieces that it seems almost impossible to gather our minds. I felt like life was slipping through my hands like grains of sand.
So I decided the easy way out was to alienate myself from the world. Cocooned me into a safe space, it was my bed. But even still, my mind was not working out for the better; I could see that my mental health was deteriorating. Along with this, I could feel aches and pains in the parts of my body that I had never felt before. This was the end of me I thought.
I knew I had to do something about this state, I started moving around more, got out of bed, did exercises that were very basic, but definitely worked for me. My state of mind started to evolve.
Mindfulness came to me as one of the most life-altering decisions in my life. I actually got to understand that I had been practising mindfulness without prior actualization of the fact. But as soon as I enrolled in Yoga Teacher Training in India and learnt so many things in yoga classes, and the classes ended in mindfulness sessions, I realized I had been practising mindfulness.
I believe that people posses the ability to be mindful, as an inherent reaction to control chaos in one’s life. As for the ones who don’t know the meaning of mindfulness. It is a basic human ability. It is a basic human ability to be able to compose one’s senses and be aware and alert of their surroundings, their senses, it’s working, of where you are and what you are doing and the reasons that are related to your current situation and mind frame. It is a basic human ability that is available to us at all times. But it is known to come to us more naturally and with more accessibility when you practice this on a daily basis.
Meditation is a method to be mindful at all times. And even so, many people may have a faulty notion of meditation and the aim of meditation. Meditation is the training of the mind. It is the training that you acquire when you are aware of what you are experiencing with your senses, your emotions and your thoughts. The aim of meditation is not to empty your mind of all the thoughts, rather to gather your thoughts and organize them in a way that you can exist peacefully in your mind and its functions.
Everyday life gets our minds so full of thoughts that we are unable to organize them properly and we let these thoughts affect us in a serious capacity. We let these thoughts affect us, even if a thought is not meant to be taken so seriously. There is a way to flush out thoughts that are unnecessary. So many of us don’t know this flushing technique because our minds are not strong enough (or rather, trained enough) to distinguish between the necessary and unnecessary.
This is why we find ourselves contemplating thoughts that don’t need the time that we are giving it, and we find ourselves in a state of losing control. This sense of losing control affects badly on our self-esteem and self-confidence; it brings us down (and the worst part of it is that we do not realize that it is bringing down).
This is when mindfulness comes into the picture. Mindfulness is training that one must practice daily in order to stop the wasting of time and emotions on unsettling feelings. It sure does save a lot of time.
And what’s even better than being able to control the mind is that, with practicing mindfulness daily, one becomes automatically aware of the ailing areas in their body. This is called a body scan. When you sit down to practice mindfulness you are taming your mind to be more and more aware and alert. This awareness and alertness make you aware and alert, in an intricate manner, about the problematic areas in your body.
Body scans come as an automatic by-product of practicing mindfulness daily. And why do you think body scans are important you say? It’s because:
Body scans increase your capacity of paying attention
When you focus your mind on a single object (in this case, your body); you learn to advocate detailed attention to the different parts that make up your body. The art of detailed viewing exposes so much information about so many things and situations in daily life. You are in fact practicing to focus your attention and organize this information about your body. You can apply the same attention and focus on other things in life that are outward of the body.
Body scan lets us open up our sensory palettes
Our bodies tend to follow the orders given by the mind. This means that the senses are controlled by the mind as well. So when there is something that your senses react to, in a repulsive manner, the mind automatically blocks the senses for that thing. In this way, our body may have blocked so much of the senses to so many things that you repel. This also means that you may be spending a lot of your time living in your mind, repelling so many senses. This causes a blocking in your sensory palette, the body and its senses also start living in your mind. Body scans help you recognize this problem and balance the number of things that your mind controls. And you will feel a certain opening up of the senses after a lot of mindfulness practice.
You embody your mind and instead of cramming all your senses into the head-space, they rather start acting independently opening you up more and more.
Body scans allow you to just be in existence with all your emotions even your darker side
As you practice more of mindfulness, you realize that you meet with a lot of emotions like boredom, sadness, irritability etc. these emotions are often met with a reaction of escaping; An emotion that tries to flee from being in a state of boredom, a state of irritability or in a state of sadness. But with the practice of mindfulness, we realize and learn that these emotions are just as much valid and important as the feelings of joy and energetic moments; that these emotions are just as much natural as the emotions of happiness and ecstasy. One learns that they can exist in these states by being fair to them and there is no rush to being in an energetic state and to take these darker emotions just as they come and that there is no need to escape but to act in the right emotion in the right moment.