Do you want to make a difference to the world? If so, how do you plan to do this? Maybe you have grand plans or maybe you have no ideas at all.
Usually, when we think about making a difference, we think about doing some form of charitable act. It could be anything from volunteering or fundraising to fighting for a cause. While these may be admirable actions, we often forget that there is another way to change the world that is open to each of us at any time.
By being mindful we are making a difference.
Yes, you read that right.
Being mindful is not something that is often recognised as making a difference, and it is unlikely that it will be something you will be thanked for but it does count.
When you are mindful you are fully aware of this moment and you are fully present. That means you are open to whatever happens rather than resisting it.
This is particularly relevant when you are around others. When you are mindful, you become aware of your thoughts and words. You can choose to speak or act differently, or simply refrain from talking. You may do something as simple as listening to another, or smiling at a passer by. In that moment you are making a difference because you are no longer caught up in your thoughts and stories. Instead of reacting to your circumstances, you are making space for acceptance and acknowledgement of the little things.
You may not think it makes much difference, but imagine if everyone in the world was mindful at the same time how different things might be.
When you are mindful you start to see how connected we all are, and how all our actions have an impact on the world.
If you think about your relationships with family and friends, you will recognise how significant the smallest actions are.
Sometimes even the act of being present is enough.
To illustrate this point, let me tell you a short anecdote. A couple of years ago I went into hospital for a major operation which lasted many hours. It was late at night when I was finally taken up to the ward. As the lift doors opened and I was wheeled out into the corridor, my partner was there waiting for me. He stayed with me into the small hours, sitting quietly next to me. He did not talk, just looked on, held my hand and waited until I fell asleep. Not only was he physically present, but he was mentally present too. This simple act was a huge comfort and made a big impression on me.
Being mindful opens you up. When you are mindful, you notice what is happening around you and how others may be suffering. This gives you the ability to respond with compassion.
Remember that your life is made up of millions of moments and each one gives you a new opportunity to make a difference. Yet, you can only make a real difference when you are fully aware, so pay attention!