Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Mindfulness Going Mainstream

Mindfulness has made the cover of  Time magazine.  This is good news.  It means people who otherwise wouldn’t know about mindfulness will read the essay.  The essay states what mindfulness is and why we need it. 

Mindfulness is awareness of the five senses—what we see, hear, taste, touch, and smell—and awareness of our emotions and thoughts.  Along with this is an acceptance of those senses, emotions, and thoughts.  This is often the more difficult part of mindfulness because we quickly judge or label our senses, thoughts, or emotions.  Acceptance is acknowledgement of the present moment. Often, however, we’re too hurried, busy, distracted, and caught up in storylines that don’t really involve us to even notice the moment, nonetheless accept it.   Acceptance doesn’t mean we like or dislike it.  Acceptance means this is what is right now.  So seldom do we realize this.

The Time essayist also wrote a lot about how technology has distracted us and how this use of technology, in particular cell phones, has created the current interest and need for mindfulness.  Being mindful of when we use our cell phones is more than societal courtesy; it’s about being more aware of the moment.  She writes about how, for example,  two people are at a restaurant, one leaves, and the other immediately gets on his or her cell phone.   Mindfulness encourages us to just notice where we are rather than use our phone for whatever reason.  Using our phones during conversations is just as prevalent, and again, mindfulness would encourage us to temporarily turn off our phones and just be aware of the conversation—the other person and ourselves--the true present moment.  Mindfulness doesn’t mean never using your cell phone to text or look up something on the internet, but it does mean becoming more mindful of when and why you are using it.   

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