April 21, 2021
What Mindfulness Is (And Isn’t) – And What Living Mindfully Will Mean At Enso Village
Perhaps it’s no surprise why the concept of mindfulness is increasingly attracting attention—and ardent practitioners. The research-backed benefits are too great to ignore:
- It reduces stress, anxiety and depression
- It increases focus and attention
- It sharpens and boosts memory
- It can improve overall happiness and quality of life
- It supports the arising of compassion
- It’s effective for pain management
- It strengthens social connections
- It counteracts the distracting and reductive effects of digital media on our consciousness
Mindfulness has been practiced for thousands of years in many cultures, and by devoutly religious and secular people alike. Yet as with so many phrases and generational terminology, the true meaning of mindfulness has become muddled by overuse, misuse and misunderstanding of the very word itself.
So let’s look at the meaning of mindfulness by exploring what it is, and what it isn’t. We’ll also explore how mindfulness will be integrated into the fabric of Enso Village, and help you decide whether mindfulness may be something you’d like to be introduced to, or do more of in your daily living.
WHAT IT IS NOT.
Mindfulness isn’t restricted with any particular religion, nor does it conflict with any. It’s not a religious or spiritual practice, unless you choose for it to be. And it’s not the same thing as meditation (although meditation includes mindfulness, and strengthens and deepens it.)
It’s also not about always feeling good. In reality, it’s about recognizing and acknowledging your feelings, anxieties, pains and challenges, and working with them without judgement. It’s about paying attention. Exploring all of one’s feelings is healthier than suppressing or ignoring them.
Finally, as we mentioned, mindfulness is not denying our pain or sadness. Rather, it’s accepting it. Accepting that you may feel anger, grief, remorse. and disappointment as well as pride and joy and fulfillment. Accepting that as human beings, our lives are impermanent.
WHAT IT IS.
By learning what something is not, you can get a clearer idea of what it really is.
If mindfulness is not exclusively a religious practice, what is it? It’s the practice of purposefully paying compassionate or kind attention to thoughts, physical sensations and one’s physical environment, without overlaying judgement on what’s happening, or trying to make it other than what it is.
It’s not about always feeling good. It’s about being aware, present. It’s the opposite of multitasking in that one is focused in this moment, acknowledging our feelings and emotions as we move through them. We practice to be more fully aware of what our body and mind are doing and feeling. Being mindful reminds us that we are alive here and now, and helps us be present in this moment.
IS MINDFULNESS FOR YOU?
You may think mindfulness is not for everyone. But without naming it, we’ve all been part of an immersive experience. In moments of extreme feeling—a birth, a death, a surprise—we are fully alive and aware. With mindfulness, we face every moment with that same attention. We’re not skipping over pain, nor are we skipping over joy.
Chances are, you’re part of the boomer generation, generally known to be seekers and activists, people who have been asking questions, challenging norms and assumptions and reinventing yourselves at every stage of life. You’ve been changing the world since the day you were born. So why stop now?
As part of a generation of pioneers who embrace the opportunity to understand more and go deeper, aging is a new adventure in life. We’re on the frontier of aging, together. How can we do it in a way that’s not just about aging, but about living? And what can we teach future generations about a new paradigm for the experience of aging?
It’s simple when you think about it. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy. Working on ourselves is work. But the reward of that work is that we’ll experience life more deeply. We’ll see more, hear more, smell and taste and feel more. It’s not for everyone, but if you’ve read this far and you find yourself even more intrigued, chances are very good that Enso Village is for you.
THE OPPORTUNITIES AT ENSO VILLAGE
Enso Village won’t conform to the many assumptions people have about retirement communities. It won’t be a “cruise ship on land.” Your life won’t be dictated or directed by anyone but you. You won’t have to be anywhere at any time or forsake your possessions. Nothing is asked of you except an open mind and heart.
This is the rest of your life—how do you want to live it? That’s the connection between mindfulness and how Enso Village contributes to your wellbeing. Now is your time to work on yourself and deepen your experience, allowing you to know yourself better and therefore increase your ability to generously share your experiences and your gifts with others.
Our physical spaces at Enso Village will support you in your overall wellbeing. Planned spaces such as a tearoom, a Zendo, or meditation space, courtyards and memorial groves—even our natural surroundings will all contribute to mindfulness.
In addition, we’re putting great thought into other aspects of our community, including how we plan to prepare and serve food, being mindful of and grateful for the entire journey from farm to fork. We also plan to offer volunteer opportunities within and outside Enso Village.
Here, you’ll also find Contemplative Care, a partnership approach that draws on the transformative mutuality of caregiver and care receiver. The emphasis in the training for this way of providing care is threefold: Abiding Presence, Conscious Aging, and Compassionate Action.
We invite you to learn more about mindful living and what it truly means to choose a Zen-inspired senior living community.
Our staff is here to answer your questions and help you discover more about life at Enso Village. Simply share your contact information to start a conversation.