The Paradox of Mindfulness – It Takes Time But It Also Saves You Time


Stop Wasting Time Sign

Mindfulness meditation can seem like a chore when we first start to do it; indeed some people don’t even start doing it because they feel they don’t have the time to devote to it every day. Mindfulness does take time in this sense, but what do we mean with the title of our article in that it also saves times?

What we mean by this is that whilst mindfulness does require time and practice to get good at it, after some practice it can open up new doors of self perception and self awareness that can lead to more positive changes in your life what you may not have discovered had you not started the practice. If you are stuck in a rut in life, mindfulness can help you get out of it and save you precious time so you don’t spend any longer treading water or unsure of where to go. Let’s look at why in more detail

 

Mindfulness Helps You Make Better Choices

The awareness and clarity that mindfulness can bring will help get you going in the right direction in life if you are stuck. What we mean by this is that mindfulness helps people to see things as they are really are and not as they would want them to be. It provides a mental clarity which can help to see things more clearly and make better choices in life.

In short, it can serve to get you on the right path in life, as Yuttadhammo Bhikkhu mentions in the video below. What he means by this is a not a dogmatic assertion about what life you should lead but rather the awareness to better see which things you do in your life are for your benefit and which are to your (ultimate) detriment; which things lead to your development and which to your downfall.

Mindfulness Can Get You On The Right Path

From this awareness you can obviously make better choices and avoid a lot of pain and suffering that poor decisions can cause when not coming from a place of mindfulness. These can be self destructive behaviours in terms of addictions, the people we surround ourselves with, poor choices in partners or jobs or just poor treatment of oneself and others.

Cultivating mindfulness can help us to make better decisions when we reach forks in the road in life, and can save a lot of the hassle and time that is lost undoing and repairing poor life choices when we approach them without mindful awareness. In this way giving up a little time each day for meditation can repay back far more in time that is saved making better choices in life.

Mindfulness Helps You Know Yourself Better

Another huge time saving benefit of mindfulness is that it is an important tool for self awareness – knowing yourself. This basically ties in with what we have already mentioned but the specific point we want to emphasise here is that if you know yourself better, you will have a better idea of what your talents are and how you can use them in the world.

This is especially useful for people who are stuck in life not knowing what they really want to do, feeling trapped in unfulfilling jobs where they are unstimulated and not using their full potential or creativity. They do know that this is what they don’t want to do, but they don’t know what they DO want to do and have no idea where to start in finding out.

When practiced regularly mindfulness can help you see others and the world but also yourself more clearly. You can see more clearly what you are good at, and not good at, what talents and skills you have, the kind of people you like, the kind of people who like you. These things were probably there all along, right under your nose; it is often the case that some people don’t start paying attention to them until they practice mindfulness.

You also become better at seeing how your mind works, how you react to certain situations, where you are a bit stuck or rigid in your thinking, what bad habits you have and so. With continual practice you will also develop an equanimity which makes it harder for toxic people to manipulate and get to you. Mind games and attempted digs will just bounce off you once you are advanced in mindfulness practice.

Mindfulness can also help you understand on a deeper level what your values are – what you care about and what makes you tick. Along with knowledge of skills and talents this can also help you align your career more with something that is more suited to you in terms of temperament and core values.

All of which serves to open up your options in life by improving your knowledge of yourself and your interpersonal skills. This can just mean that so many more things become open and accessible to you that weren’t before. If you become aware of talents and interests you have never used, you will start to use them and possibly start making a living off them. It can open up different avenues in life particularly in work and jobs.

Mindfulness Lifts Depression

Another crucial benefit of mindfulness is that it is a holistic solution which by its very nature can help to lift depression. What gives depression it’s power over people is that when sad feelings start to enter we tend to try and resist them or push them away, which simply means they persist and push back even harder. This constant struggle of resist and persist is often what drives clinical depression as we try and avoid the bad feelings.

One of the most horrible things about depression is that it kills motivation to get anything done. Even basic daily chores like going to the shop can seem like too much hassle and we want to just curl up into a ball and do nothing. It just stops us being productive and moving forward in life.

Mindfulness is a holistic solution to this in that the entire practice centers around not resisting thoughts and feelings but just letting them all in and observing them without judgement. And the very act of letting everything,including the depression, in without resisting it often makes it go away of it’s own accord. Through mindfulness we see that depression is just something that comes and goes like any other emotion or mood and it loses it’s power over us.

Once the depression lifts we can get back to being productive and getting things done again. Mindfulness can speed up this process and stop us getting caught in depressive episodes and other ruts where we lose motivation for months or years on end. Once again, by getting us on the right path quicker it can save us time in life.

So How Can I Get Started With Mindfulness?

Hopefully we have provided a good overview of the benefits mindfulness can give you in life. In short, it can provide the basis from which other broader life changes can take place, in terms of work, relationships or anything else. So for someone new to mindfulness how can they easily and quickly get into the practice?

There are loads of introductory courses to mindfulness meditation but we will link below to the 8 week course by mindfulness expert Mark Williams, where he takes you through simple series of meditations where you observe the breath, bodily sensations, sounds, or thought patterns. It is a very accessible introduction to mindfulness and practicing each meditation once or twice a day as your move through the course will produce noticeable benefits in a short space of time.

Mindfulness Course – Week 1 – Breathing Anchor

Through this you will learn how paying mindful attention to one or more of the five senses or inner thoughts can produce great states of calm and self awareness and provide all the benefits we have already mentioned above.

For many people it will often seem like a chore at first and something they will not want to do, but over time as they see the benefits it brings, the practice becomes easier and people actually start to value and actively put time aside for their mindfulness practice. It becomes an integral part of their life.

As little as 10 minutes a day can be beneficial but the benefits gained from meditation are usually proportional to the time spent doing it so the more you can do the better. We add to this the caveat though that the quality as well as the quantity of the meditation does also matter so try to ensure you are in a quiet place where you will not be disturbed.

When practiced regularly and properly though mindfulness can indeed save many people a lot of time and pain in life and pay back a small daily investment of time in the form of meditation many times over. The self awareness it brings can help us make better choices and better use our talents and skills and makes it well worth the initial chore of daily practice.

See our Mindfulness Resources page for more books, videos and links to mindfulness resources.

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