The mindful revolution in our Western culture is in full-throttle. The word mindfulness is the new "in vogue" word. It's popping up everywhere. It's on the front cover of magazines, it's in book titles, and it's often "Breaking News" within the media. Mindfulness is being introduced in our schools and workplaces and everywhere else in between.
Why are we experiencing this mindful revolution?
Could it be that we're all extraordinarily stressed and rarely make time for ourselves to relax?
Could it be that we're looking for that one thing, that one pill (so to speak), that will "fix" us?
These questions are simply serving to get your curiosity flowing. Before reading on, take a few moments of pause and investigate these questions.
Living in a culture that seeks one quick fix after another, we often see ourselves move from one thing to the next without ever feeling any sense of true inner peace.
So...what is mindfulness?
The practice of mindfulness comes from the extraordinarily rich traditions of Buddhism. Within the context of Buddhism, mindfulness is not exclusively about reducing stress or improving concentration.
In the Eastern traditions of Yoga and Buddhism ethical guidelines are woven into daily practice. These ethical guidelines serve to keep us accountable for our actions, how we treat ourselves and how we treat others. They include (but are not limited to): non-violence, truthfulness, non-stealing, moderation, non-hoarding, wise speech, wise action, and how we choose to make a living.
With these ethical guidelines, mindfulness practice is about our quality of attention. In other words, "What are we placing our attention on?" Are we placing our attention on unwise or unskillful thoughts? Are we placing our attention on belittling others (unwise speech) in conversation? Are we constantly judging ourselves? Practically speaking, mindfulness is about action and yes, meditation, too. Through mindfulness practice we begin to investigate these unwise or unskillful thoughts, words, or actions with gentleness and ease. Ultimately, we can begin to transform our unskillful actions into skillful and wholesome actions that truly benefit ourselves, and all beings everywhere.