When we initially begin practicing mindfulness it can feel like the only thing that we become aware of is the incessant thought stream. Bringing our attention back to the present moment can feel like a chore rather than relaxing. We realize just how much momentum our thought stream has and this can be overwhelming.
But it doesn’t have to be this way!
Even one moment of insight after a significantly long period of mental rumination is a moment of mindfulness. The seeds that we plant by practicing meditation and mindfulness in our daily lives tend to blossom and show up as little moments of awareness or reflection. So it’s very important to realize that these small moments of awareness are is still the practice of mindfulness even after the fact.
Reflecting on how we’ve been behaving or to notice just how in our own heads we’ve been. Is a sign that our practice is starting to work. So instead of considering these small moments failures or insignificant we should consider these moments small achievements.
One of the rarely acknowledged aspects of mindfulness is the fact that we have two poles of attention. Lets look at the objective pole of this attention for a moment as this is what is widely consider as the definition of mindfulness.The objective pole of this attention would be defined as. Paying attention to what you are doing in this present moment or paying attention to internal thoughts or bodily sensations in the present moment.
So the objective pole of attention seems to be the classic definition of mindfulness but there is another aspect to mindfulness.
This other aspect of mindfulness is the subjective pole of attention. This attention is the awareness from which objects are perceived. This can easily be experienced by turning our attention inward to the subjective quality of our experience in any moment. Another way to experience this is to stop thought altogether and notice the presence awareness that is left in our experience and how that feels like who we are. This is the subjective pole of attention where we can rest in awareness. Without projecting our attention outwards to objects such as thoughts, feelings and the external world.
The subjective pole of attention is how mindfulness is expressed in its spiritual context. For instance in Buddhism or Hinduism.These spiritual traditions identify self realization with the subjective pole of attention.
The subjective pole of attention is always present in our waking experience. However due to misunderstanding this aspect of mindfulness goes unacknowledged. The subjective aspect of mindfulness is our visceral sense of identity. The sense of being, the sense of aliveness and that intimate sense that we exist.