Mindfulness is all the rage these days. I’m sure a sizable amount of cash money is spent on it daily and I’m not gonna google that for the sake of a statistic. But what the hell is it and how the hell are you supposed to get there? Better yet, should you even want to?
As mindfulness is defined as either “the state of being conscious or aware of something” or “
a mental state achieved by focusing one's awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one's feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.” I think we can agree that we should maybe want to. But I’m not so sure we are all going to take the same path to get there.
When I was a senior in high school, my home room teacher who had to have also been my religion teacher, spent multiple weeks trying to teach a bunch of 17 and 18 year olds “Sadahnah”(I’m going by memeory and this name/spelling is my best effort). Really it was just a form of meditation. For high school kids it was a good time to grab an hour of sleep, but I do remember enjoying a couple of times where I was relaxed and calm. I was apparently on the cutting edge of the mindfulness trend.
I wish we could call it something else though. Mindfulness sounds like I’m on the verge of saying something I shouldn’t and ruining it for the whole group. Why does everything have to sound so fuddy duddy serious all the time. Whatever.
Anyhow, today I was listening to the Making Sense podcast by Sam Harris. I haven’t listened to much of this because it mostly just makes me feel stupid, but in THIS episode he was speaking with Adam Grant, a psychologist and work guru guy who is obviously brilliant but who is pretty anti-meditation to gain mindfulness. He posits that you can do lots of things to get mindful...like exercise. I knew I liked this nerd ass nerd for a reason.
This of course struck a chord for me. The same sense of awareness you get from quietly listening to your breath is the same mind calming feature you can get on a run. You can sit home and do a live reading of the Celestine Prophecy if you’d like, I’m going to go ride my bike.
I remember the first couple times I did yoga. I jumped on YouTube and started searching for “whipass yoga”, thinking for sure there was some Pixies blaring version of this relaxing technique because loud music relaxes me. There is not and I was relegated to new age goof talk and my heart center, which are fine, but don’t resonate with me.
So get your mindfulness or your whatever you want to call it, any old way you’d like. There’s more than one way to skin this zen af cat.