In the everyday stress that’s so universal these days, it can quickly happen that we lose our feel for ourselves and forget to even ask what we need, desire, and feel. Instead of turning our gaze inward and becoming conscious of our own strengths and abilities while learning to accept and value them, we often spend time comparing ourselves to others and making value judgements. The product of this is typically unhappiness and self-doubt.
The difference that it makes when we perceive things more consciously without passing judgment on them, however, only becomes clear to us if we take the time necessary to do so. And it’s well known that thoughts can’t just be done away with, only diverted—by consciously directing our own attention, such as towards our own breath. This isn’t about changing the way we breathe, here. All we’re really doing is training all of our senses to observe and accompany our breath, perceiving our belly’s movements, our muscles’ contraction and relaxation, and the frequency with which we breathe. Because by repeatedly focusing on our breath, we can softly deflect distracting thoughts.
This kind of awareness helps with attaining clarity and a calmer state of mind—by mentally reaching into oneself, feeling the smallest changes and thinking entirely of the “here and now” without judging it.
On the musical level, such internal mindfulness exercises can lead to changes in the way we sound. They can resolve internal blockades, suddenly allowing the sound of one’s voice or a played note to vibrate more freely—and thus to change quite audibly. And experiencing this can make the relationship between one’s inner state and outward expression noticeably clearer.
We can know only that which we consciously perceive; we can love only that which we know; and we can act lovingly and caringly only towards that which we love. This goes both for ourselves and for the things and people around us.
So being mindful is an skill that we can practice and train, and it’s the key not only to fulfilment and happiness, but also to our own self-love.