Mindful or Mind Full?
The time has arrived, mindfulness is in vogue.
Says Kate Pickert in TIME magazine, “But to view mindfulness simply as the latest self-help fad underplays its potency and misses the point of why it is gaining acceptance with those who might otherwise dismiss mental training techniques closely tied to meditation—Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, Fortune 500 titans, Pentagon chiefs and more. If distraction is the pre-eminent condition of our age, then mindfulness, in the eyes of its enthusiasts, is the most logical response. Its strength lies in its universality”.
Is it time to be mindful of being mindful?
When one thinks of mindfulness, it is Thich Nhat Hanh’s name that comes up first. As a Vietnamese Zen Buddhist he wrote from a place of experience, living through exile and the travesty of the Vietnam war. Thich Nhat Hanh published The Miracle of Mindfulness in 1991, for many this was the first introduction to the mindfulness approach to life. He brought together teachings from different Mahayana Buddhist traditions and ideas from psychology in the west to illuminate a modern meditation practice. Now, twenty three years later, mindfulness makes the cover of TIME magazine.
What is mindfulness?
“Though meditation is considered an essential means to achieving mindfulness, the ultimate goal is simply to give your attention fully to what you’re doing. One can work mindfully, parent mindfully and learn mindfully. One can exercise and even eat mindfully. The banking giant Chase now advises customers on how to spend mindfully.” says Kate Pickert in TIME magazine.
When one chooses to be mindful, the most challenging aspect is the preservation of that state of mind. Being mindful is being present, in the now, devoting your best to whatever is at hand. This is hard in theory and even harder in practice.
As mindfulness becomes more accepted and mainstream, it is important to maintain the integrity of something with so much potential. A future where the phrase “mindfulness” becomes a catch phrase of a generation could be around the corner, for good or bad. With care, society can cultivate this upcoming culture of mindfulness in a way that the phrase is used with reverence so that one truly becomes mindful in thoughts, words and actions.