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Natural Awakenings Metro Phoenix & Northern Arizona

The Power of Mindfulness: Discover this new rich source of personal power. Steve Price of A Mindfulness Life Center tells us how.

Nov 02, 2014 02:11PM ● By Steve Price

Mindfulness is usually not associated with personal empowerment. In fact, the mind itself tends to assume that the opposite is true: that mindfulness is passive, a process of simple observation. But when one begins to practice mindfulness, one can experience, firsthand, how it can be a rich source of personal power: the power of consciousness itself.

Jon Kabat-Zinn, the founder of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), defines mindfulness as "paying attention to the present moment, with intention, while letting go of judgment, as if your life depends on it." That last part, "as if your life depends on it," is a radical but profound truth, which makes sense if one looks deeply into three phrases that precede it.

Attention to the present moment. Getting stuck in the past or worrying about the future are mental activities by which one gives away one's personal power. The past is over and the future hasn't happened yet. The only place where personal power is available is in the present moment. Only in the here-and-now is it even possible to resolve the past or create the future.

Being present empowers us to be more responsive and less reactive, and to have a closer, more fulfilling relationship with ourselves, others, and life in general.

With intention. An intention is different than a goal. A goal is external, achievable only in the future. If one sets the goal, "I will get an A on the exam," the power in that statement is compromised because of the future tense. An intention is internal, and achievable right now.

An example of an intention would be, "My mind is clear and radiant." An intention is a conscious, deeply planted, internal commitment. Intention is the "why" beneath the goal. Goals are instrumental, but it is the power of intention that will keep one on course toward a goal, and beyond.

Letting go of judgment. Judgment, because it is often unconscious and unintentional, is an activity of disempowerment. It is the projection of the past (assumption) or the future (expectation) onto the present moment. This coloring separates us from the reality that is right here, right now, and keeps us from all of its opportunities and blessings.

The root cause of all judgment is self-judgment. This is the stress through which one sees and experiences life. As there is less judgment of self, there is less judgment of others, and less stress. Hence, the qualification, "as if your life depends on it."

Of the three, letting go of judgment is often the most difficult, and arguably the most critical. The mind is constantly assessing and analyzing. That is why mindfulness practices are empowering. Whether it's meditation, prayer, or gardening, it's helpful to devote time each day doing something that calms the mind.

With practice, one can observe even one's own judgments, and those judgments, over time, lose their power. And when one reclaims one's own power of mind, life becomes a lot less stressful and a lot more fun.

Steve Price manages and teaches at A Mindfulness Life Center, in Scottsdale. For more information, visit

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