the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something.“their mindfulness of the wider cinematic tradition”
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.
Mindfulness is a big buzz word in Buddhist, Zen and new-age spiritual circles. I have even heard the term uttered on occasion from the pulpit of the traditional protestant church I attend.
I describe my religious persuasion as a very suspicious liberal christian with a Buddhist hue. What that means is I believe about 49.9% of what my conservative, bible thumping christian brothers and sisters believe and the other 50.1% is just noise. As I have drawn closer to the end of the path my “Buddhist hue” has become more prevalent in my spiritual life and as such mindfulness has become a dominating theme in my everyday interaction with this world.
“The quality or state of being conscious or aware of something.” Thích Nhất Hạnh has written about and taught many wonderful lessons about mindfulness. Though his health is failing he will leave a legacy of work that will affect the lives of many, mine included, for generations to come. I thank the cosmos everyday for Thay’s remarkable life and his ongoing missions.
One of Thay’s many advocacies is the fair treatment of people. Take for instance the tennis shoes you may be wearing. When you were shopping for them several factors came into play with probably the biggest being the price. If you were to look at the label on those tennis shoes you would notice that they were probably made in Indonesia, China, or maybe Vietnam. If you did a little research you would also discover that the individuals making your $100.00 tennis shoes are probably being paid less than $4.00 (US dollars) a day, are working 60 to 70 hours a week, six days a week. Go a little further and you would realize these people work in horrible and dangerous conditions. Honestly the term sweatshop doesn’t even begin to describe the risk these workers face everyday so that you and I can simply get a “good deal” on a pair of shoes. I haven’t even discussed child-labor, worker abuse, or maiming’s.
You want to practice mindfulness? Hold those tennis shoes in your hands and close your eyes and be mindful of souls that made those objects for your use. Think about their lives, the lives of their families. Think about the struggles that they deal with, how hard they work and the conditions they work in just so you and I can get the color and style of shoe we want at the right price.
Mindfulness is a deeper practice than being kind to your neighbor, or letting the car beside you merge into your lane. Maybe you think that will get you into heaven but I am pretty sure God, at least my God, is going to frown on you for not trying to right the wrong you know existed tied to your feet. Mindfulness is a world view, not a tip of your nose perspective. See the bigger picture, live in the bigger picture.