CARD URL: http://www.zaporacle.com/card/mindfulness/

Card #66 – Mindfulness

Mindfulness is an empowered stance from which to meet the world. Mindfulness is sometimes defined as being as present as possible with what you are experiencing in the moment. There are many definitions of mindfulness, however, as this Wikipedia article describes.

A classic mindfulness exercise is to eat one raisin, first looking at it carefully, noticing every convolution and variation in surface texture, feeling it with your fingers, smelling it, feeling its texture with your tongue, biting into it, and sensing the release of sugar, noticing how the sweetness registers differently on different parts of the tongue and so forth.

Mindfulness of posture is quite an engaging and beneficial practice. Depending on the moment, you may need to focus mindful attention on what’s happening momment-by-moment between you and another person or within your psyche or body. Driving, being out in nature, it is hard to think of an activity or state of being human that would not benefit from mindfulness.

But I think there are more states of mindfulness than are contemplated in the literature on mindfulness I’ve read. Most mindfulness lit describes states where you are doing, at most, one thing at a time with total attention. I think that definition is too narrow for modern life.

I know this is mindfulness heresy, but I think it’s possible to mindfully multitask where you are doing a routine physical task while listening to audio content such as music, podcasts, and audiobooks.

Yes, if I’m mostly absorbed in a great audiobook, I’m obviously not fully present with doing the laundry, but so what? If I were going to do laundry for a living and wanted to get more efficient at it, I might take off the heaphones and focus on every movement to see where I could improve. Otherwise, I think I can do laundry better, and certainly more enthusiastically, when I’m doing it on autopilot while listening to great audio.

I look forward to laundry and mundane physical tasks because it can be reading time or a chance to listen to great minds interviewed on the best podcasts.

During those tasks, I shift the spotlight of my mindfulness as needed. If someone sends me a text with personal, psychological content, I’ll pause audio and laundry action while I give full attention to reading and responding to the message.

So, I think it’s possible to be mindful in a busy modern life where lots of things are incoming by focusing our attention appropriately, realizing that the spotlight of our attention will shift many times during the course of a day.

Ask yourself frequently,

“What’s the best focus of my mindful attention right now?”

See The Capsule of Intentionality
See writings on the Warrior Stance

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