Mindfulness is Not From Mars

When I bring up mindfulness, many of my friends look at me like I just disclosed being from Mars. The fact is, however, we are reminded to be present and pay attention (the essence of mindfulness) throughout our lives:

Pay attention in class… Look at me when I’m talking to you… Don’t be texting while driving or talking to someone… Stop and smell the roses…

Mindfulness is not new. Calling it mindfulness, and acknowledging its importance, is the only thing new about it.

Passionless AND Present

Ever passionless, thereby observe the subtle.
Ever intent, thereby observe the apparent.

In my own pursuit of enlightenment, these lines from the Tao Te Ching have been key to me. I have taken these lines to mean that the passionless state, in which I can observe the subtle, was the preferred one (which is perhaps correct). However, I have long thought that the way to be passionless was to be UNinvolved in each moment- to be detached and observing as from above.

As I learn more about mindfulness lately, discovering its true meaning and implications, I have come to understand that being fully present in the moment IS the path to a passionless state. Rather than being incompatible, I see that the two are wrapped up in each other- being passionless helps me be fully present, and being fully present helps me to be passionless.

Complete Reality

The more senses I employ in being present with the object of my attention, the more dimensions there are to my concept and memory of it. It becomes more and more ‘real’, and present in my own world, the more I practice this mindfulness.

It seems, sometimes, like my senses aren’t just relaying information about a thing- they are connecting me to it. It’s like communing with something/someone through mindfulness.

Perhaps this is why being ‘present’, eliminating distractions, is so important in communication. Having distractions present when talking to you means some of the connections aren’t there. I’m not as able to be ‘one’ with you, and with all the levels and dimensions of what you are sharing.