Today was a great day for Betteryears.com! Why? Because today I had the incredible opportunity to sit down with none other than the founder of Mindfulness.com – Dr. Ozzie Gontang. Ozzie is one of the frontrunners in the quest to make the world a better place, one conscious at a time 🙂
The reason I sought out and met with Dr. Gontang is to try and gain more insight into the practice of “Mindfulness.” So this article will shed some light onto this practice, and give you actionable steps to become more mindful!
What is Mindfulness?
Psychology Today defines Mindfulness as “A state of active, open attention on the present. When you’re mindful, you observe your thoughts and feelings from a distance, without judging them good or bad. Instead of letting your life pass you by, mindfulness means living in the moment and awakening to experience.” Let’s break that down line-by-line beginning with:
“…active, open attention on the present.”
This is one of top pain points we at Betteryears will be teaching – the art of being actively present. This sounds like something you heard as a child, but never understood. How can one be active and present? I have heard of remaining very still, both mentally and physically, to meditate in the present. But, that statement does not remind me of something that would be recommended during meditation…
In fact, Mindfulness IS a form of meditation. And, being in a state of active, open attention on the present, is exactly what mindfulness practitioners and practicers can do. Ozzie explained this best when he stated:
- Dr. Ozzie Gontang
Being in a state of active presence is like being the eye of a hurricane; While everything around you may be chaotic and in disarray, you keep an unanxious presence in an anxious world.
“…you observe your thoughts and feelings from a distance.”
This is hinging on, or eluding to, the western perception of deep meditation and spiritualism. But I don’t believe they meant it to be that profoundly unobtainable. This to me is a misleading statement because mindfulness is not out of reach to everyone right now, like an out-of-body experience. A better description would be: “take a step back, and view your consciousness objectively.” Or simply; “focus on your consciousness.” Much like when your personal trainer tells you to focus on that one specific muscle while you are lifting the weight to get a better workout. In kind, Mindfulness is focusing on your consciousness while you are aware. Again, Ozzie put it best:
- Dr. Ozzie Gontang
I don't learn from my experience, I learn from the interpretation of that experience.
“Living in the moment and awakening to experience.”
This is the most rewarding effect of mindfulness (so I’m told). When you reach that level of clarity, consciousness, and attention to self, you are then able to completely take in your surroundings as never before. When multi-tasking, or worrying over something not present, you lose sight of what’s around you. This can be detrimental to the very definition of “living.” In fact, one could say that by definition, you are not living if you are in a constant state of distraction from current experience. You may be “alive,” but you will not be living.
Dr. Gontang had another lesson to teach me. One that he learned was highly effective and rewarding in his family life:
Ozzie has two talented and successful daughters, as well as a loving wife. They all live their lives according to various educational goals, dreams and ambitions (each, from the sound of things, is more ambitious than the next)… I’ll pause for a moment to mention there is no life-change or tragedy to set up this anecdote, so I’ll just get to the conclusion… Ozzie, being the mindful practitioner he is, wanted to institute a habit of taking his wife and daughters on a stay-cation of sorts every year. This was not your typical trip to get away from reality, it was a trip to get away from their individual realities in an effort to create their own, together. So as a family, they’d go to a nice hotel in a beach town up or down the coast. And while they were there, the goal was simply to open up and solve each others’ current dilemma’s together, as a family. This was very interesting to me, because it was not what I’d ever consider doing – bringing my close family to a resort, not to dismiss reality and escape for two days, but to really dive in and work together to solve problems as only family members can. Ozzie does this family meeting every year, without excuse. From this yearly tradition, the Gontang’s are able to practice mindfulness is a highly necessary and rewarding manner.
If for no other reason than this, practice mindfulness as a way to create the future, from the present. Or as Ozzie puts it:
- Dr. Ozzie Gontang
If you want to know the future, create it.