Over the last several years, there has been an exponential increase in interest in the concept of mindfulness in our culture. In my view, the growing body of research evidence that points to its positive and significant impact on our health and wellbeing is largely responsible for this growing trend.
I will often start a talk of presentation by asking the participants to recall a time when they have used the work mindfulness or mindful and to reflect on how it was used. My guess is that the word is in most vocabularies.
Take a moment now and try to recall a time when you used the word.
If you are not sure, recall the last time you were out for a walk or hike with a friend. Imagine that you are leading the way up the trail and you unexpectedly slip on a rock. You are surprised because the rock doesn’t look slippery. At this point ,you may hear yourself saying “mind the rock” or “be mindful of the rock…it is slippery”.
We want the person to pay attention in a particular way. We want them to pay attention to something that might not be seen or easily seen or perhaps ignored because they are looking elsewhere.
And this is what mindfulness is….it is a way of paying attention to our experience fully and to connect with our experience so that we can try to see clearly what is present.
In your own understanding of mindfulness, consider that it is not about the object of our attention, “the rock”. Mindfulness is about the way in which we are “attending to” the object.