In this digitally dependant stressed out society that we have created finding peace is difficult, but really it is simply a matter of re adjusting the way you think. If we actually knew how powerful our thoughts really are we would be a lot more conscious of them.
lets take for instance a simple raisin. As a raisin sits in my palm to be inspected my palms are sweating and the raisin gets a little sticky. It does not look appealing to me in the slightest, but as I pick it up I take notice of the skin and how it shines, then I notice the small indentation where it once hung from the vine. I then take it and put it in my mouth rolling ot over my tongue noticing its wrinkly shape and texture then push it up to my teeth and begin to chew.
Yes, it is true I am only eating a rasin, but for the first time ever I am eating that rasin mindfully. I know this seems silly but in the midst of a popular obsession with mindfulness as the secret to health and happiness, with the ever growing amount of evidence showing this to be true I thought it worth looking into on a more personal level.
It has become very hard in todays world to simply think about one thing at a time. the excersize with the rasin is simply to teach us to be mindful. technology has made it common place to have our attention fractured into smaller and smaller bits.
We answer a clients questions from the bleachers at our childs wrestling match, we pay the bills while watching TV we read the news on our smart phones while talking with friends. In an age where no one seems to have any time for each other our smart phones allow us to be many places at once but the cost is never being able to fully inhabit the place we actually want to be.
Is it possible that we can do better? On one level, the techniques associated with philosophy are inteneded to help practitioners quiet a busy mind, becoming more aware of the present moment and less caught up in what happened earlier or what may happen later. Cognative therapist use mindfullness techniques to help patients cope with anxiety and depression and it is broadly used to deal with high levels of stress.
But saying mindfulness is simply the latest self help fad underplays its importance and potency and completely underplays the point as to why it is becoming more and more widely accepted and practiced. If distraction is the preeminent condition of our age then mindfulness in the eyes of its enthusiasts is the most logical solution. Its strength lies in its universiality.
Though meditation is considered an essential means to acheiving mindfulness the ultimate goal is simply to give your attention fully to what you are doing. One can work mindfully, parent mindfully and learn mindfully. One can excersize and even eat mindfully, you can even walk to the store mindfully if you try hard enough.
There are no signs showing me that the forces splitting our attention into smaller and smaller slices will ever abate. Quite the opposite in fact they are getting stronger, as smart watches and virtual reality head sets are arriving in droves Mindfulness is an indespensible tool for coping both emotionally and practically with the daily onslaught of bullshit the ability to focus on a single raisin is not so silly if the skills it requires are the keys to surviving and thriving in this 21st century……