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What’s Your Default State Of Mind? Mindful Or Mind Full?
Understanding what Mindfulness is not is actually very easy. And to an extent, herein lies the beauty of the English language. You just split the word Mindful and you know exactly what IT IS NOT - Mind Full!
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Mindfulness is the next generation of exercise. Legendary athletes like Phil Jackson swear by it. Companies like Google, SAP and LinkedIn offer mindfulness programs to their employees.
Techniques like MBSR (Mindfulness based stress reduction) are used in treating medical patients and rehab. Why, even the US Army and Canadian police teach it to their officers.
Closer home too (where mindfulness originated in the first place!), mindfulness is quickly becoming the fastest growing form of meditation with high performance corporate executives, their companies, celebrities and even students taking to this practice.
Is this a fad? Another buzz word? Ancient home grown wisdom exported to the west and now being brought back in a sexier avatar?
Join me in this series as I explore what Mindfulness is, its origins and history, how and why it works, the neuroscience behind it and how it just might be worth trying out.
But before we embark on this journey, it might just help to understand what mindfulness is not. After all, there is no night without day and no right without left!
What Mindfulness is not:-
Understanding what Mindfulness is not is actually very easy. And to an extent, herein lies the beauty of the English language. You just split the word Mindful and you know exactly what IT IS NOT - Mind Full! And to understand more deeply, what Mindfulness is not, just take a look at the average day from our lives today.
Wake up in the morning and the first thing we do? Look at our mobile phone! (Back in the good old days when I was a kid, we were told to look at a picture of some god or at least your own palms).
And as the triggers of WhatsApp texts, mails, social media likes and emails start to pour in, the mind changes gears. Moving from a tranquil moment of waking into a frenzy almost like a car that has just been started and is being put into overdrive even as it starts moving.
Getting out of bed, the mind is already in a whir and many of us have a shower with half the office already there planning the next presentation! Breakfast is on autopilot or on the go (ask people in the evening what they had for breakfast and see how many people remember easily!), getting to work while texting or mailing or calling interspaced with swearing at people who cut you off in traffic as they pretty much do the same thing as you.
The workspace is full of multitasking champions who can talk on the phone, text, listen to you, sip their caffeine and work on the next brilliant idea, all at the same time. After all, isn't multitasking supposed to be cool and a sign of efficiency?! (I actually think it is an ability to do multiple tasks, equally badly at the same time, but more on that later!)
And as the day progresses, we are assaulted by stimuli from all directions as we make quick judgements, take fast decisions that impact our companies, our families and our very lives.
Before we know it, the day is over, some studies say we have anywhere up to 70,000 thoughts in 24 hours (86,400 seconds). Although no studies are required to show that most of those thoughts are repetitive and either about the past or the future.
Are you surprised then that many of us need help to sleep? A drink or two or four. And the weary mind stumbles and slows as the body falls into a restless state of rest.
Simply put, this is what mindfulness is not.
And by the way, the WHO says that over 85 per cent of all diseases are stress related. Chew on that sombre note as next week we start to understand what Mindfulness is!
Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.