“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 you are present in the moment, not absorbed in runaway thoughts.
Your actions stem from being aware and awake to a greater purpose and not victims to your innate desires.
It is easy to succumb to numbing thoughts because they are buried deep within your psyche. You are only aware of them once you 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 you are mindful of your actions, the less pain and suffering you 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 you to be prepared instead of having a divided focus. You become absorbed in the flow experience of life and bring your 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, practice mindful thinking and pay attention in a particular way, on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally.
For some, it may take a lifetime of anxiety, pain and suffering to realise who they are. Yet through mindful action you connect with your deepest self, so your actions result from thoughtfulness.
You harmonise with your inner intelligence and trust the intuitive guidance that appears, rather than dismiss it as unrelated.
You come to realise underneath the façade, you are already wise and not at the mercy of your thoughts and emotions.
Likewise, mindful action helps you deal with stress and anxiety because you are no longer governed by them. Instead, you use those disempowering states as motivation toward wholehearted living.
Stress and anxiety serve no role within the body’s landscape since you are now mindful of the purpose they served — unity over separation.
Governed By External Elements
“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, you may be at the mercy of your emotional instabilities and turn to food to feel better about yourself. While short lived, the consequences of not attending to your emotional wellbeing heightens the discord between mind and body.
Moreover, using food as an emotional blanket desensitises your emotions, so you react instead of merge with your core feelings. You may experience runaway emotions while powerless to guide yourself 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 helps you to inhabit your body with attentiveness and act according to your core values.
Similarly, the power of focus directs your thoughts so your actions are intentional and not automatic.
To focus means to harness your mental faculties towards appropriate action, which arises from intrinsic motivators and not external circumstances.
Your focus can be deceived by the tide of disharmony, which can be disconcerting. Once you regain your composure, shift your attention so your actions originate from mindful intent.
It is no surprise life can be filled with circumstances not of your choosing. At these times, be careful with your 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.
Your actions define who you are while your words reveal who you aspire to be. Be persistent in choosing mindful actions that resonate with harmonious thoughts.
You are defined by your actions more than your words, so it stands they be congruent with how you want to be perceived by others. This is the one true barometer of your character that speaks volumes of who you become.
Mindful action leads you to observe the call of your inner spirit. It is the modest counsellor directing your 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.
Be attentive to your inner spirit by allowing it to influence your thoughts, rather than be led by the chaos of your external world.
As the computer idiom goes: “junk in, junk out.”
To be mindful of your thoughts leads to deliberate action, which is the fertile ground of an enlightened mind.