I am writing a description about an upcoming meetup on mindfulness. I feel the computer keys beneath my fingers and I hear the whir of the air conditioning next to me. I focus on my breathing. I worry that people may not understand why I am writing this way. I acknowledge that feeling and let it pass over me like a wave. I let it go without judgment and return to my task to complete the write-up...
"Mindfulness" has become somewhat of a buzzword in recent times in everything from corporate America to New Age retreats. But it is actually an ancient practice rooted in Buddhist philosophy and religion. Simply, it is paying attention on purpose. It is the act of being fully in the moment, non-judgmentally.
In this video, Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn, the creator of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, defines mindfulness in this 5 minute video:
Many people think of mindfulness as something one can only do in complete silence, legs crossed, in a meditative state, or in a yoga class. But mindfulness can actually be a way of life. Dr. Ellen Langer, a researcher on what she labels "mindful health," points out the many ways in daily life that we can choose to "actively notice things" and how that can improve our health, learning comprehension, memory, relationships and more. In this 50 minute audio file, she gives an everyday perspective on incorporating mindfulness into your life and why it produces positive changes.
This practice takes, as they say, a few minutes to learn and a lifetime to master, but the good news is that everyone, no matter how busy, distracted, stressed or anxious or depressed, can benefit from the cultivation of this skill. Take it from this Buddhist monk-turned-clown (no, really!), Andy Puddicombe - All It Takes Is Ten Minutes: