Mindfulness is about putting your attention where you want your attention to be. The thing with awareness is that our attention can be kidnapped, caught up in worries, anxiety-ridden, or simply obsessing over aspects of our experience that are not useful to obsess over.
Paying attention carefully and on purpose is sort of like looking at the blind spots. I can’t see my successes when my attention is pre-occupied with my failures. In fact, at times when people have pointed out the things going well in my life, I have been quick to avert my attention elsewhere and complain more loudly about things going poorly.
Paying attention to the subtle nuances of a spring flower may at first seem like it has nothing to do with my life and my pain. But the simplicity and the amazing potential of nature can in fact pull me into the universe that shares that flower. In the universe there is beauty that presents itself to me. It is complex and bold. It is part of my everyday existence. It is part of my breathing in the universe, of my waking awareness, of new life. In some parts of the world there are no flowers. In my world, there is.
Most of the time, and perhaps like my clients, I can’t see the flower. I can’t appreciate the complexity of botany that I can’t understand. I won’t or don’t get down on eye level in its playing field. I walk past it. I nod and go along. I get back into rumination and worrying. I am stuck in the stuff of my own mind.
Mostly, because I’m simply not paying attention. Carefully. With awareness. And on purpose.