There is a radio playing in our head, Radio Station NST : Non Stop Thinking. Our mind is filled with noise, and that is why we can't hear the call of life, the call of love. Our heart is calling us, but we don't hear. We don't have the time to listen to our heart.
Mindfulness is the practice that quiets the noise inside us. Without mindfulness, we can be pulled away by many things. Sometimes we are pulled away by regret and sorrow concerning the past. We revisit old memories and experiences, only to suffer again and again the pain we have already experienced. It is easy to get caught in the prison of the past.
We may also get pulled away by the future. A person who is anxious and fearful about the future is trapped just as much as one bound by the past. Anxiety, fear, and uncertainty about future events prevent us from hearing the call of happiness. So the future becomes a kind of a prison, too.
Even if we try to be in the present moment, many of us are distracted and feel empty, as if we had a vacuum inside. We may long for something, expect something, wait for something to arrive to make our lives a little bit more exciting. We anticipate something that will change the situation, because we see the situation in the present moment as boring - nothing special, nothing interesting.
Mindfulness is often described as a bell that reminds us to stop and silently listen. We can use an actual bell or any other cue that helps us remember not to be carried away by the noise around and inside us. When we hear the bell, we stop. We follow our in-breath and our out-breath, making the space for silence. We say to ourselves, "breathing in, I know I'm breathing in". Breathing in and out mindfully, paying attention only to the breath, we can quiet all the noise within us - the chattering about the past, the future, and the longing for something more.
In just two or three seconds of breathing mindfully, we can awaken to the fact that we are alive, we are breathing in. We are here. We exist. The noise within just disappears and there is a profound spaciousness - it is very powerful, very eloquent. We can respond to the call of the beauty around us : "I am here. I am free. I hear you".
from the introduction of the book
"Silence - the power of quiet in a world full of noise"
by Thich Nhat Hanh