Mindfulness According to a friend of mine ‘mindfulness’ is the latest thing – the latest thing? Well not really, it’s been around a long time, it’s just that it seems to only in more recent years have been cottoned on to by the Western world. Thus taking over or adding to Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.
My friend pointed me in the direction of Jon Kabat-Zinn’s lecture to Google employees circa 2007, so I watched it and to be perfectly honest I had already heard it all before from reading Osho. It’s Buddhism, pure and simple, something I have always been interested in following to some loose degree.
I say to ‘some loose degree’ because while I endeavour not to kill any living creature, recently we had a wasp’s nest attached to the house, they kept getting into the house and yes I am guilty of killing a few (huge guilt attached.) One of them stung me something rotten and had to go. Sorry Buddha.
It occurred to me while listening to Mr Kabat-Zinn (what a fabulous name by the way) how much mindfulness is caught up in writing. When I sit down to write I am totally caught up in the moment with my characters and their situations so it is a kind of meditation already, how great is that?
Many, many years ago I tried meditating – twice. I don’t remember how I learnt about the first kind of meditation but I do remember sitting on the bed, counting my breaths in and out, in and out until indeed I did reach an ultra calm state. Well right up until the phone rang and I fell off the bed in shock.
The second time was as part of an adult learning course I took part in to teach adult literacy. The idea was that we all had to teach something. Typically for me, I taught how to make a cocktail (Brandy Alexander in case you are wondering.) Another student taught meditation.
Aha I thought; this would be good, a nice relaxing little nap for 20 minutes or so. No such luck. The thing I learnt that day was that meditation could be energising as well as relaxing. Thus followed a sleepless night (far too much energy to sleep.)
My two meditations are writing and exercise. Funnily enough I rarely think about characters or plot issues until I actually sit down to write, possibly this could be my downfall at times. Only if I’m really worried about how something is going to turn out do I mull it over when doing my ‘day’ job.
The beauty of writing is that I really can’t be worrying about other stuff when I’m doing it. It’s the same with exercise because when doing that I just keep concentrating on breathing) or not breathing as the case may be. So I guess that has to be mindful?