A dear high school friend recently shared an article that appeared in The Guardian entitled "Forget Mindfulness, Stop Trying to Find Yourself and Start Faking It". Of course, I was drawn to read it out of a curiosity to see what the potential de-bunkers might have to say... armed and ready to tear it apart!
To my pleasant surprise, there was a lot of wisdom contained in it. (Well, it could hardly be otherwise if it was quoting Confucius and Mencius!). The article evoked the image I have chosen to represent this post. Because it reminded me of how mindfulness allows us to give the well-trodden "behavioral response" tracks in our brains a deserved break. Pause. Re-ignite the travel through forgotten or altogether unchartered paths. And feel the difference this makes... maybe even learn something new and, in the meantime possibly become a better person.
"Confucius teaches that certain 'as if' rituals are transformative because they break patterned behaviours we’ve fallen into." And so my first thought was how I had approached reading the article in the first place. 50% skeptically defensive and 50% curious and wanting to learn something new. As I began reading I realized my defense was pointless and it quickly shattered. Why attach so much importance and effort to this article? I had not even started reading it and I was already looking for holes in it. Recognizing my state of mind prior to reading the first sentence was an act of mindfulness in an of its own - no need to retreat to a mountaintop. Realizing that I was only 50% I thought perhaps I could amp that up to 100%. What could that state of mind bring me instead?
And so I was reminded of a Psychiatrist Judson Brewer's Ted talk I listened to recently entitled "A Simple Way to Break a Bad Habit" which illustrates how mindfulness or amped up curiosity can help us deal with cravings, drug use, over-eating, anger management, and more. I have heard time and again how visualizing what we want as if we already have it, own it, live it, and enjoy it is the key to attaining it. Call it faking-it or not, what I love the most about practicing and leading mindfulness classes is the ability to recognize the broken-record-like behavior, pausing it, and getting curious about new possibilities like a newby. And if we cannot get curious for real, we can at least try faking it... till we make it!
DeNatura Wellness offers in-office classes on Mindfulness in South Florida. For more information on scheduling a class in your workplace click on www.denaturawellness.com