The practice of mindfulness has recently garnered quite a bit of attention as more people are turned on to the benefits of leading mindful lifestyles. Just like anything else that achieves considerable media and mass attention, mindfulness is not without its misconceptions, many of which are quite outlandish. The following are just a few of the most common mistakes and misconceptions about mindfulness.
The Lone Monk Stereotype
Not everyone who practices mindfulness feels the need to join a monastery or spend extensive amounts of time living as a hermit. While some of the most famous adherents to mindfulness may have been lonesome wanderers or hermetic monks, today, most who practice mindfulness are ordinary people like you or me. Behind closed doors, we all practice our own lifestyles in our own respective ways, often without showing any distinction between ourselves and anyone else in the outside world. Mindfulness is no different from yoga, weight-lifting, therapy, or any other form of self-care.
Mindfulness Has Rules and Restrictions
Mindfulness does not come with any strict rules or regulations as far as how it is done, how often, or how you are doing it right or wrong. It is much simpler than you might think it is, and in many cases, you already practice mindfulness in some areas of your life.
When you are eating a meal in silence without distractions, where does your mind go? If it doesn’t concentrate on your food, you are eating mindlessly. To be more mindful, all you have to do is think about what you are eating, the tastes and textures, the temperatures, and how it makes you feel. That is what mindfulness is. You are tapping into your thoughts and senses, and allowing the present moment to happen, without thinking too much about the past or future, and without judgment.
Mindfulness is Religious
Even atheists practice mindfulness, proving this misconception false right off the bat. Mindfulness has nothing to do with spirituality, the afterlife, deities, or any sector aspect of religion. Mindfulness starts and ends inside the mind and body. When followers of mindfulness refer to a “soul,” they often mean that nameless energy inside of us that makes us unique.
Kick these roadblocks to the curb and get on your way to the journey to mindfully living!