One of the interesting skills we propagate through our coaching practice is mindfulness, keeping one’s consciousness alive to the present moment, a deceptively simple skill of relating to our experience.
What makes it so interesting is observing others and myself and noting just how infrequently we pay attention. It seems not paying attention has become the new mantra of our culture.
I started a category in our blog called “Information Overload” http://www.birthrightcommunications.com/birthright-blog/bid/15663/The-Information-Overload which outlines some of the statistics of today’s environment; and whether you agree or not with some of the numbers, we can all agree our world is getting busier and we are changing as a result.
It is almost as if the world has taken on a life of its own, molting into something new almost every day…and the demands on us to keep growing exponentially. So why the interest in a mindfulness practice developed over 2500 years ago, what could be relevant?
Here I am, feet to the fire, managing a business, a family, a whole horde of accounts; equipment, passwords …and I have a lot more I want to do in every domain of my life. I mean I am busy, very busy and the wonderful day I imagined would come when I finally get it all organized and controlled has not arrived yet…and I know now it never will and that is good news. How…more on that later.
So just, what is mindfulness? The term mindfulness is an English translation of the Pali word sati…sati connotes awareness, attention and remembering. Pali was the language of Buddhist psychology 2,500 years ago and had at its core the teaching of mindfulness.
(I am far from an expert of neither Buddhist psychology nor a Buddhist practitioner so for those who are bear with me.)
Mindfulness is about awareness and attention to the present moment. Jon Kabat-Zinn shares a good working definition of mindfulness with us. He says the mindfulness is “awareness that emerges through paying attention on purpose, in the present moment and nonjudgmental to the unfolding of experience moment by moment” (We will discuss Jon Kabat-Zinn’s work more in a later post)
My working definition is “To be mindful is to wake up, recognizing what is happening right now”… or even shorter, “waking up”.
So how is this relevant to today’s world? It might appear that as you stand around “waking up”; the world might pass you by.
In the next few weeks, I plan to explore the usefulness of this practice in our lives today as well as outline a list of daily practices that can greatly improve your performance.