What is Being Mindful?
When you use your attention, your attention has a quality. It has a substance – you can almost rub it between your fingers. For example, if you sit and lazily watch an action movie your attention will feel different than the attention you need to study for a final exam.
Attention is an experience. An experience so common, and so necessary, that its quality –its felt experience– is difficult for us to notice. Just like breathing, you can easily forget attention exists. But your attention is always there. And it’s always a little different.
The quality of your attention is a silent question to your world. It asks the question, “What am I looking for in the environment?” … “Do I want knowledge?” … “Do I want entertainment?” … “Do I want confirmation of a previously held idea?”.
Attention looks for an answer that fits its quality, finds an answer, and then offers that answer to you as your reality. Something is funny only when we find it funny. Something is frustrating only when we find it frustrating.
Reality is built on answers from the silent questions of attention.
When you’re angry, your awareness will have a quality of anger. Your awareness will ask angry questions. And it will get angry answers.
All this simply makes you more angry. With no end in sight.
Thankfully, nobody is safe from their awareness. You need awareness to separate answers from an infinite environment. It’s not that you need to destroy negative (or positive) awareness from your life. You simply have to be aware of its influence. You simply need to know (and innocently try to remember) that your reality is based on the quality of your awareness.
This is what being mindful is all about.