Thursday, 31 May 2012

Taking a Stance

Mindfulness has become somewhat of a buzz word.  It’s in fashion.  People are talking about it.  Everyone seems to have heard of it.  Some have tried it.  Once or twice.  They may have read about it.  In a magazine article.  Or even a book.  Scratch beneath the surface of the hype, and therein lies the confusion.  It appears so simple to those who want to grab and grasp what it may have to offer them.  For those of us who have been treading this path a little longer, it is so much more than a passing fad.  Mindfulness is a way of life.  A way of being in the world.  A way of being in ourselves.

So often I hear people define mindfulness as paying attention in the present moment.  This is true, but it is far from the whole story.  Mindfulness for mindfulness’ sake is hardly worth the effort.  Mindfulness is not, and never was, ethically neutral.  It is a quality that is cultivated with the intention of informing our future thoughts, words and actions.  In this way, mindfulness is the way towards wise response.  Mindfulness is the key to understanding what needs to be done and when.  There are times when we should not just sit there, that there is something that requires our action.  There are other times when to spring into action would be counterproductive without first considering with our full attention what our next step might be.  Mindfulness is a training for the muscle of the mind, to enable us to progress in the right mental gear, responding to the world around us rather than habitually reacting.


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