The Mindfulness Revolution

How wonderful to see these words as a headline on Time magazine a week ago! Living in the Now is fast becoming a world wide movement – with the possibility of less stress and more happiness for all.

In her article Kate Pickert comments: “Although I signed up to learn what mindfulness was all about, I had my own stressors I hoped the course might alleviate. As the working parent of a toddler, I found life in my household increasingly hectic. And like so many, I am hyper-connected. I have a personal iphone and a BlackBerry for work, along with a desktop computer at the office and a laptop and iPad at home. It’s rare that I let an hour go be without looking at a screen.’

All these communication devices have helped us enormously in terms of speed and facility of connection. But are we allowing them to swallow us whole? Have they robbed us of time simply to be, to savour the present moment, rather than rushing compulsively into the next moment and the next? Have they replaced real communication, where our super-alert senses are in a position to understand not just the contact of what someone says to us, but to be able to look into their eyes, be aware of their tone and posture and truly connect with them as a human being? We humans are not designed to live without contact with other human beings. Think of the pleasure of truly looking into the eyes of a small child and seeing yourself, your true Self, your common consciousness, reflected there. Cellphone contact, whether spoken or read, is a poor substitute, even if it seems convenient.  We all need our existence, our humanity, our common spirit, acknowledged, and that happens most satisfactorily through direct contact. 

If the time you spend on artificial contact far outweighs what you spend on genuine, face to face contact, it’s worth considering whether this needs to be mindfully examined. Why waste unnecessary energy on manmade devices and miss this moment, now. Talking on your cell while eating – no wonder so many people are overweight when they never taste their food; constantly consulting your blackberry for messages when out with a friend – substituting the Now for the past or the future and missing what is real and right in front of you.

Pickert says: ‘Finding peace in a stressed out, digitally dependent culture may just be a matter of thinking differently.’

For an accessible and practical introduction to mindfulness try reading Living in the Now: less stress, more happiness  by Jill Jacques, available as a download on Amazon.

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About Jill M Jacques

I grew up in Johannesburg, South Africa, and have spent most of my life here doing the usual things - marrying, having children and caring for an array of pets ranging from dogs to silkworms and chameleons. I first became interested in philosphy and its practical application in everyday life in my early 20s and spent many years as part of a group that pursued this goal. Drawing on this experience, I have been running "How to live in the Now" programmes for over 10 years. I wrote this book in response to requests from group members for something "simple and practical". I tend to see the funny side of life situations and enjoy writing humorous back pages as well as short stories and some poetry. Some of these have been published. Being here now is what really matters.
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