With this appearance of a front-page story in the Sunday New York Times Style section, I’ll declare that Mindfulness (hereafter known with the capital M) has arrived and achieved fad status.
And what a great fad it is!
Far superior to clothing styles or celebrity diets, Mindfulness has huge advantages for those who try it. Not only does science show it’s effective for improving physical and mental health, as well as basic happiness, but Mindfulness also allows us to see our thoughts and feeling states as separate things that we can choose to interact with as we wish. It’s super good and well worth pursuing. (My favorite book for those wanting to give it a try is “Search Inside Yourself” by Chade Meng-Tan.)
But Mindfulness is not enough. To really matter in our lives, Mindfulness must be connected to action.
Once we realize our thoughts are separate from us and that we can choose how to interact with them, then we have the option of making that choice. And it’s making those choices based on inner knowing that really turns up the heat to Awesome.
Knowledge without action is academic at best, selfishly Onanistic far more often.
Once we realize that we are feeling anger — instead of believing that we are angry and cannot do anything about it — then we can choose to drop anger. Same with fear or joy or any of the millions of recurring thoughts that run our lives most days.
When we do that — make a choice based on the realization that we can create our feeling state and our basic experiences of the world — then we start to change our lives and the lives of those around us. This is what I call Consciousness: basing our actions on deep inner knowing and the realization that we have a choice in everything we do, every second of the day. And Consciousness really does change the world.
So, three cheers for Mindfulness’ day in the pop culture spotlight. I can’t want for Consciousness to have its closeup.