What is the true meaning of life? What will we regret on our deathbed? Religious or non-religious the meaning of life is the same. To live life to its fullest. To live completely in the present moment instead of living our entire lives lost in thought.
Einstein once stated “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” Mindfulness cultivates a different perspective and a new way of thinking. Research is showing that mindfulness increases focus, problem solving, and logical thinking by allowing ourselves to focus on creative work with a clear, non-distracted mind.
Scientific research is now showing that changing your routine and getting out of autopilot mode will increase the amount of happiness in your life. So how should we go about doing this? What habits should we change? Let’s realize that the mind can only do one thing at a time. If you’re trying to multitask you’re doing it at the expense of efficiency or because one of the tasks is subconscious.
Mindfulness seems to be a hard task for beginners. Our minds are continuously jumping around from thought to thought, from the past to the future. It seems unnatural and uncomfortable in modern society to live in the moment. It isn’t mainstream(yet!). It’s always more comfortable for us to follow the crowd then to stand out and go against the grain. That’s why one man, Thich Nhat Hanh, created an idea called “A day of Mindfulness”.
Over the course of time it becomes imperative to reevaluate our lifestyles. Asking ourselves what the motives are behind our decisions. To not assume that everyone wants the best for us, instead of simply their company. That men and women alike should be willing to challenge the societal norm in which we live. Not believing that just because the people around us are acting a certain way we should do the same. That happiness does not come from material possessions, but rather from internal processes. Consumerism has put the value of material possessions greater than that of connections, experiences, and the truly important entities of life and reality. —Such has been the cause of suffering and depression in the modern age. Our 39th president, Jimmy Carter, even warned the country about the consequences of consumerism in his speech titled “Crisis of Confidence”. To prove this, let the truth be unraveled through your own experiences and by understanding the real motives behind the large companies in the world.
Consumerism is simply a bunch of businesses trying to make a ton of money by selling us stuff that we don’t need. I believe we are losing control of ourselves. We’ve becoming obsessed with buying stuff, which creates loads of debt Do we really need that much space in a house? Does a nice car, house or watch really make us a better person? Does it really make us happy? We are driven to achieve the American dream, but what is the American dream? A fantasy land in which we own the nicest house, car and material possession in the neighborhood. What if the American dream isn’t my dream? Then am I a rebel. Going against what society is telling me. I am just living a life of happiness and mindfulness.
- It has been run by a bunch of CEO’s who only care about money.
- It has tricked people into thinking they have a void that can only be filled with stuff
- It has destroyed nature in order to run manufacturing plants that are horrible for the environment
- It has increased overall debt in developed countries by persuading people to buy a house that they will work their whole lives to pay off.
- It has created an economy dependent on consumerism
- It has created a need for compulsory consumption, in which people shop just to shop.
- It has created greed as a value of the American people. Making money the prime focus in life.
- It has made it hard for people to live in the moment, everyone is always daydreaming about a material possession that they want
- For decreasing my overall wellbeing, and making me more depressed, angry, and hopeless than ever before.
- For creating a dependence on money
- For ruining the environment
- For creating an illusion of a gaping void and a need for material possession that won’t even make me happy
- For creating sickness and unhealthy eating by valuing and advertising junk food on every corner of every city.
- For making me discontent with who I am
- For making me value self indulgence and stimulation
- For making me value what I own over what I accomplish in life
I tried to obtain my independence peacefully through mindfulness, minimalism, and meditation. I starting eliminating all the excess material possessions in my life. I began living in the moment and unhooking from stimulation and constant advertisements. But overall, you came out on top. Constantly bombarding me with advertisement and false hopes. Therefore, I ought to be free and detached from the false hope that you’re offering me. I will act on my own, free of debt, wanting stuff, and living a depressing, hopeless life. I pledge to be free, happy, mindful, and living everyday to its fullest without the interruptions of your institution.
Ethan Nelson (“The Mindful Young Man”)
This post is merely an essay that I had to write in school. The point of the essay was to write a mock declaration of independence against a person or institution. I chose the institution of consumerism and here is my article.
When learning about new things and gaining knowledge our minds tend to get in the way. We tend to have preconceived notions and biases towards one point or another. Whatever stance you take on an argument, you’re still hindered by your single sided approach.
Although meditating is the best option, many people still don’t see the benefit of meditation. Many people have a bias against meditation. If you’re one of those people who still isn’t sure why to meditate then practice mindfulness instead.
The most important outcome of meditation is learning to be in the moment, but meditation isn’t the only way to do so. Even if you meditate, I’d bet you don’t do it for more than 25 minutes a day. Mindfulness is the other route. Mindfulness is simply being aware of the present moment no matter what situation you’re in. You can practice mindfulness every minute of every hour of every day. Being mindful isn’t hard at all, it’s just about remembering to do it.
Learn to be in the Moment
We spend our lives lost in thought, full of emotion, addicted to stimulus and more. Being in the moment solves all of this. So the next time you catch yourself lost in thought just gently relax into the moment.
What to do throughout your day
- Focus on the breathe, the sensations of breathing in and out.
- Hear to the sounds of the moment, simply let the sounds come to you.
- Feel the sensation of your feet on the ground, especially when you’re walking.
- Notice the physical sensations of your body, unpleasant sensations too!
- Notice the colors of everything around you.
Being in the moment simply means: Being aware of the everything around you. It means focusing on what is happening right here, right now, not rethinking the past or worrying about the future. Practicing mindfulness in your day to day life can change the way you live.
You can become happier, learn to control your emotions, lose your addictions, become focused, reduce stress and much more. Mindfulness is a habit to keep for the rest of your life. You won’t regret it.
- :the process of fully developing and using one’s abilities
- the pursuit of humanity, creativity, knowledge, fairness, rationality, love, virtue, truth, beauty, joy, gratitude and fulfillment.
- attentive, aware, or careful
- inclined to be aware
A vision creates motivation throughout your journey. A self actualized life is one in which your work is your passion, you’re creatively driven, you’re a leader, you’re fearless, you’ve mastered your emotions, you’re content and fulfilled with your life and much more.
Happiness comes and goes, it can be created but it’s really hard to be constantly happy unless you’ve trained for many years. On the other hand, fulfillment comes early. Fulfillment an emotion/feeling that you’ll feel during your self actualization journey. Fulfillment is a general sense that you have your life handled, or that you will have it handled in the near future.
This journey of mindfulness will teach your to accept reality as it is, in the present moment. It makes you think wiser than you ever have, you realize that nothing will bring you more fulfillment than living in the moment and becoming self actualized.
A few end goals of a self actualized life
- A life in which you never have to worry about money.
- Your work is play, it’s your passion and you’re doing a service to the world.
- Your work is bringing you complete satisfaction, fulfillment and joy.
- Develop complete emotional control, conquer anger, fear, anxiety and much more.
- Have a deep understanding of how the world works, you will understand many things about this life.
- Develop a core confidence in which you’re decisive and accept yourself. A self love, even with all your imperfections.
- Create physical vitality/energy, you won’t feel drained after your day from work. You’re constantly energetic and vitality is constantly coursing through you.
- Develop rich and rewarding friendships.
- Become a leader, a role model that inspires others to be great.
- Develop creativity and advance humanity in a meaningful way. Create some amazing things to share with the world.
- Break free of the rat race. The 9-5 job and the toxic pop culture, TV, and internet.
- Live a life of integrity. Be completely happy when you die. Knowing that you’ve lived an extraordinary life and left the world better off then when you came into it.
- Enlightenment, understanding the true existential nature of yourself, other people and reality.
- Create time to savor the beauties of life, ridding yourself of constant anxiety, fear, busyness.
- The Ultimate Goal: You will die with a smile on your face, not fearing death with regrets that normal people have. Feel that you went all out and soaked in as much of life as you possibly could. You accomplished everything that there was to accomplish on this earth. You savored every single moment and everything that you possibly could.
Steps to take
- Gain Knowledge: Inform yourself about a self actualized life. Make a commitment to becoming a high quality learner. Take notes, keep a journal. Invest 10% of your income on learning.
- Start making small changes in your life: Eliminate toxic habits in place of good ones. Make a great morning routine. Eliminate negative thinking, unhealthy eating, social media, TV because those small things will add up.
- Focus your intention on mastering your emotions: Rid yourself of limiting beliefs, negativity, fearfulness, and blaming other people for your mistakes.
- Find your life purpose: Find out who you are as human being.
- Become financially independent: When you free yourself from you job you become your own boss. When you aren’t desperate and relying on money, you become confident, free, fulfilled, and started on your journey to a self actualized life.
“I think everybody should get rich and famous and do everything they ever dreamed of so they can see that it’s not the answer.” -Jim Carrey
Happiness is right in front of our eyes. It is staring us in the face, but we’re so distracted with life that we become depressed, angry, dissatisfied and much more. We’re chasing the American Dream, but the American Dream is not my dream. It limits our happiness to material possessions and creates a faint light in the distance. It always keeps us waiting for something. Waiting for the right moment to be happy. For some it’s the weekend, for others it’s the next vacation and for most it is retirement. Yet we always find some way to put off our Happiness.
As a teenager I am asking myself, do I really want to travel down this road. There has to be some other way, a different road to happiness. Just think about the quote by Jim Carrey above, being successful doesn’t make you happy. It merely gives you a burst of excitement that last for a week at the most and then dissipates at the blink of an eye. Nothing lasts forever, at least nothing that we’re currently chasing.
There is some other way. It’s about embracing the moment. Embracing what’s right in front of you. Sometimes we just need some alone time to sit and embrace the present moment. Listen to the bird’s chirp, or the wind rustle. Feel the sensations streaming throughout your body. They can bring you a sense of inner satisfaction that you’ve never felt before.
This is something that you can always lean back on. Through the good and the bad times. Through the up’s and the down’s. If practiced correctly, it can bring you lasting happiness in your life.
So Embrace the Moment. Don’t run from it.
The first step to a happier, more mindful life is this: find time throughout your day to relax and forget about all your worries. Become your senses. Embrace the sights, sounds, aromas, and internal feelings of the present moment.
Are fears holding you back? Could you live with more freedom if you detached from any fears?