Friday, February 21, 2014

MINDFULNESS ACCORDING TO TIME

It’s about TIME---no pun intended of course.

The February 3, 2014 issue of TIME magazine has a cover story entitled ‘The Mindful Revolution’---an apt title if ever there was.

You see, if and when you commit yourself to the regular, daily, and moment-to-moment practice of mindfulness---and I hope you do---you do indeed experience a revolution of sorts. The nature of that revolution is not unlike that word ‘repentance’ which, as any Christian minister (especially one of the evangelical kind) will tell you, involves both a turning away (from oneself and the ‘evil spirit’ of separateness, that is, sin, to use a Biblical word)  and a turning to or toward (a Power-not-oneself, that is God). Repentance also involves a profound change of heart (that is, mind and perception) and, of course, behaviour.

Now, how, you may ask, is mindfulness like repentance? Are you saying mindfulness is religious, even Christian? No, I am certainly not saying that. As I have often said you don't need to be at all religious to practise mindfulness. Mindfulness is not religion. Got that? Anyone can practise mindfulness, no matter what their religion or lack of religion. Now, back to the first question, namely, how mindfulness is like repentance. Well, mindfulness involves, firstly, a turning away from resistance and separation in the forms of labelling, analyzing, judging, and condemning ‘things’ as they happen (that is, unfold in consciousness from one moment to the next), and secondly, a turning to or toward the reality of the actual content (both internal and external) of the present moment---in all its directness and immediacy. 

You see, mindfulness is not a retreat or withdrawal from reality. Not at all. Mindfulness is a full-frontal engagement with reality, that is, life as it unfolds from moment to moment---and that is truly a revolutionary experience if ever there was one.

Thank you, TIME magazine. Your cover story has introduced the ‘science’---as you rightly call it---of mindfulness to its widest audience yet.


Photograph by Peter Hapak for TIME.
All rights reserved.


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