“Looking upon leads to awareness. Awareness leads to action.” – Talmud
The Master once asked his disciples which was more important: wisdom or action.
The disciples were unanimous: “Action, of course. Of what use is wisdom that does not show itself in action?”
Said the Master, “And of what use is action that proceeds from an unenlightened heart?”
Tony de Mello’s fable highlights that deliberate action emanates from an awakened mind and pure heart.
Mindful action unfolds when we are present in the moment, not elsewhere absorbed in runaway thoughts.
Our actions stem from being aware and awake to our greater purpose and not victims to our innate desires.
It is easy to succumb to numbing thoughts because they are buried deep within our psyche. We are only aware of them once we have carried out the deed.
Mindful action involves bringing your whole self into the present moment, engaged with life as it unfolds. Its power lies in its practice and application. The more we are mindful of our actions, the less pain and suffering we encounter.
Jon Kabat-Zinn, the founder of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction states the aim of mindfulness is to act with clarity and intent.
Mindful action calls us to be prepared instead of having a divided focus. We become absorbed in the flow experience of life and bring our thoughts into the present moment with openness and honesty.
“Callous actions are caused by callous minds,” states author Nicholas Epley in Mindwise.
To avoid heartless action, we practice mindful thinking to pay attention in a particular way, on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgementally.
For some, it may take a lifetime of anxiety, pain and suffering to realise who they are. Yet through mindful action we connect with our deepest self, so our actions result from thoughtfulness.
We harmonise with our inner intelligence and trust the intuitive guidance that appears, rather than dismiss it as unrelated. We realise underneath the façade, we are already wise and not at the mercy of our thoughts and emotions.
Likewise, mindful action helps us deal with stress and anxiety because we are no longer governed by them. Instead, we use those disempowering states as motivation toward wholehearted living.
Stress and anxiety serve no role within the body’s landscape since we are now mindful of the purpose they served – unity over separation.
“Do you have patience to wait till your mud settles and the water is clear? Can you remain unmoving till the right action arises by itself?” – Lao Tzu
Mindful action is useful to reinforce nutritional harmony. Emotional eaters will benefit from mindfulness instead of responding to the pull of their instinctive desires.
Often, we are at the mercy of our emotional instabilities and turn to food to feel better about ourselves. While short lived, the consequences of not attending to our emotional wellbeing heightens the discord between mind and body.
Moreover, using food as an emotional blanket desensitises our emotions, so we react instead of merge with our core feelings. We may experience runaway emotions while powerless to guide ourselves back to harmony.
Linda Graham MFT states, “Choose to recondition afflictive emotions that block wise action, freeing up energy that lets you move in the world resiliently.”
Mindful action allows us to inhabit our body with attentiveness and act according to our core values.
Similarly, the power of focus directs our thoughts so our actions are intentional and not automatic. To focus means to harness our mental faculties towards appropriate action, which arises from intrinsic motivators and not external circumstances.
Our focus can be deceived by the tide of disharmony, which can be disconcerting. Once we regain our composure, we shift our attention so our actions originate from mindful intent.
It is no surprise life can be filled with circumstances not of our choosing. At these times, we must be careful with our thoughts and highest intentions, instead of being governed by external elements.
“Indeed, we are constantly engaged in the self-construction business, on both outer and inner levels, through both thought and actions, in our ongoing effort to convince not only others but ourselves that we really exist,” states Lama Surya Das.
Our actions define who we are while our words reveal who we aspire to become. We must be persistent in choosing mindful actions that resonate with harmonious thoughts.
We are defined by our actions more than our words, so it stands they be congruent with how we want to be perceived by others. This is the one true barometer of our character that speaks volumes of who we become.
Mindful action leads us to observe the call of our inner spirit. It is the modest counsellor directing our soul’s evolution.
Again Lama Surya Das reminds us in The Big Questions: How to Find Your Own Answers to Life’s Essential Mysteries, “Through understanding, we can avoid looking for what we want and need in the wrong places, repeating the same actions while hoping for and even expecting different results, and seeking happiness in ways which simply perpetuate our unhappiness and suffering.”
I believe we have discovered something important here. Mindful action emerges from a greater intelligence tied to a pure heart and enlightened mind. To the uninitiated, an enlightened mind naturally means a mind free of prejudices and conditions.
Let us be attentive to our inner spirit by allowing it to influence our thoughts, rather than be led by the chaos of our external world.
As the computer idiom goes “junk in, junk out.” To be mindful of our thoughts leads to deliberate action, which is the fertile ground of an enlightened mind.