The Missing Key to Mindfulness

Mindfulness is sometimes thought of as another word for meditation. It can also be defined as the ability to be aware of the present moment without judging or criticizing yourself. We are going to be using this second definition.

If you have ever tried being mindful, you know that it is easier said than done. When you discovered that you were not in the present moment, you were probably thinking about something else – an earlier conversation or what to eat for dinner. It seems that your thoughts are taking you out of the present moment.

What if your thoughts aren’t the only thing pulling you out of the present moment? Keep reading to discover the missing key.

What else takes us out of the present?

According to Candace Pert, who wrote the Molecules of Emotion: The Science Behind Mind-Body Medicine (1997), our emotions decide what is worth paying attention to and drive our memory processes. Our emotions can pull us out of the present moment.

To be mindful our emotions need to be focused on the present moment. Unfortunately, this is also easier said than done.

Why is it so hard to keep our emotions focused on the present moment?

Let’s look at how our emotional system works. We experience emotions in our physical body. Check this out for yourself. Remember a minor negative emotion: a sad movie or an irritating task, for example. Where do you experience the emotion in your body? Emotions can be felt anywhere in the body, but many emotions are felt in our heart or our belly.

When you experience love, where do you feel it? I’m sure most of you said: “In my heart.” Many of our positive emotions are felt in the heart area or all over.

Not only do we experience current emotions in the body, we store unresolved traumas and repressed emotions from the past in the body.

Emotions from the past act like landmines

Whenever something in the present reminds you of the past, the old emotion is triggered. All of that old pain comes flooding back and you are no longer in the present moment.

What are some common landmines? Someone reminds you of a teacher who embarrassed you. Your significant other uses the same tone of voice your mother used when she was angry. A touch reminds you of a slap.

How to release emotional landmines

Candace Pert tells us “…almost every other culture, but ours recognizes the role played by some kind of emotional energy release, or catharsis, in healing.” Even though your emotional landmines are stored at the cellular level you can release them.

You need to engage in daily self care by claiming all of your emotions – both positive and negative. In this way, you don’t create new emotional landmines. If you have a backlog of painful emotions from childhood, there are a number of methods to release or transform them.
Here are a few:

  • Meditation
  • Personal growth seminars
  • Journaling about your dreams
  • Expressive therapies (art, music, etc.)
  • Neuro Linguistic Programming
  • Incorporating spirituality

Becoming more mindful

If you wish to become more mindful, begin to pay attention to how your emotions pull you out of the present moment. When you find that you are not in the present moment ask yourself: “What was I feeling?” This question will help you discover which emotions are tripping you up.

If you have been struggling with mindfulness, releasing unresolved emotions from the past may be the missing key that you have been looking for. The poetry of emotion process is a quick easy way to become more mindful.

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