Jon Kabat-Zinn defines mindfulness as:
Mindfulness is awareness that arises through paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgementally,” says Kabat-Zinn. “And then I sometimes add, in the service of self-understanding and wisdom.” — Mindful
It's similar to Mary Oliver's poem, "Sometimes":
Instructions for living a life:
Tell about it.
Trouble is (preparing myself for the brickbats), it's taken on the cloak of another monotheist religion, which (sometimes) denudes it of its meaning.
Actually, even to write about it makes me a hypocrite.
Why can't we just live it in our daily actions, speech and the way we comport ourselves?
If we did, we'd see and experience so much more.
But it wasn't always like this, as some of my posts have tried to elucidate; namely, those that reference the past and the people whose lives we're lived simply and with minimum distraction.
The answer then?
What, to live more mindfully?
It wouldn't hurt to dial down on what we're told we've got to do to be successful. I see this in my kids' education. Even in these depressingly-similar, Covid19 times, if they're not doing something they think something's amiss. I don't hear any of them say, "Today I'm going to have a day of doing absolutely nothing." And mostly, but not quite as frequently as before, they utter those perennial and oft-quoted words: "I'm bored."
A cheap point if ever there was one but how can anyone be bored with being alive? A lot of people it seems. No names but I've lost track of the conversations I've had over the last year premised on the trappings of the past, as if now, this moment, isn't good enough. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with wanting to eat out, see friends and family or go on holiday, but it's as if this life isn't good enough.
But I digress.
Mindfulness. Imagine it being us and our lives. I don't mean we're so deliberate in our actions that it all looks contrived and stilted but then again, slowing down might just bring us into the present moment so that we appreciate what's really going on. I can so relate to this apropos my daily walks: I'm usually on a mission to get around the village as quickly as possible. Only recently have I started, in a meaningful and deliberate way, to carve out listening and watching time, and it's amazing what I hear and see: insects, birds, the air and even the small amount of traffic bring a richness to the experience.
I'd like to say you (whoever you are that's reading this little old post) know all this but I can't be sure. It's hard not to make sweeping generalisations but very few of the people I know or communicate with appear to be paying attention in a way that I'd call mindful. What if they did? Well, using my nature example, I think they'd hear and see so much more.
Isn't that worth reaching for?
Again, I'm not sure. We go where we go, do what we do, and if this stuff floats our boat, great, but if not, no one will know otherwise.
I suppose what all these recent posts are pointing to is the fact that lockdown #3 is giving me an opportunity to practice what I've so often preached. I'm not sure my posts capture all that I'm about or would like to say, but at least I feel that I'm making a concentrated effort to get back in contract with true self, the person I am at the deepest, most profound level.
Is lockdown or the restrictions helping or hindering the way you see life?
PS. You might want to read this article if you're interested in how the Internet has messed up our ability to concentrate: I Talked to the Cassandra of the Internet Age