Monday, May 19, 2014

The Fifth Step ~ Mindfulness

These students walking and texting are not mindful of each other or the greenery around them.  Will we have a whole generation whose only connection is through hand-held devices?  These may seem funny to us, but walking and tweeting and texting and driving don't mix.

Lots of people aren't paying attention these days.  Basically, that means they are not being mindful.  I have seen people at restaurants on their mobile devices, not paying attention to each other.  Once I watched a mother and her young child, whose feet didn't reach the floor as he sat at the table, and they never spoke during their meal.  Both were playing with their iPads or droids, or whatever they had.


1.  Identify someone who regularly teaches or practices mindfulness and/or meditation.  Ask that person to provide information about their practice.  If we were meeting in person, we could ask someone to lead our group in a guided meditation.

2.  "The purpose of mindfulness ... is to help us detach ourselves from the ego by observing the way our minds works" (p. 105).  Have you ever practiced mindfulness techniques or have you ever meditated?  If so, would you share how these practices have affected your life?

3.  This is not a meditation we should perform in solitude, apart from our ordinary routines.  In mindfulness we mentally stand back and observe our behavior while we are engaged in the normal process of living in order to discover more about the way we interact with people, what makes us angry and unhappy, how to analyze our experiences, and how to pay attention to the present moment" (p. 106).  How often have you noticed your reactions as they arise, rather than allowing your emotions or reactions to control you?  This month, practice mindfulness and report on your experience in the comments.


1.  If you are not familiar with mindfulness meditation, check out one or more books listed in Suggestions for Further Reading on page 215 of our book:  Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life by Karen Armstrong.

2.  A number of online resources may be helpful.  The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Mindful Awareness Research Center has a series of downloadable meditations of varying lengths at  Set a time each day to try one or more of these meditations.

Bonnie's suggestion

1.  On my book blog, I have been posting Monday Mindfulness ideas.  The link will take you to the whole collection of blog posts.

Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life ~ by Karen Armstrong, 2010


Bonnie Jacobs said...

It's the third Monday again. I've posted "The Fifth Step ~ Mindfulness" already, so click on the blue link in your emailed comment notification. I have also notified each of you on Facebook.

Bonnie Jacobs said...

Sylvia Jones commented on Facebook, because it's hard for her to get connected here, she says:

"Nice reflection. People are paying attention to something, but it does seem we are less and less connected to each other and the earth that supports life."

Shirley said...

Even without the distraction of electronic devices, I realize that I have problems with focusing on one thing or of what is currently going on in my life. Perhaps I should try meditation as suggested, but it's still not on my list of top priorities. Do any of you regularly meditate? If so, does it help you to be more mindful?

The comments on the acquisitive drive and the inability to ever satisfy ones desire for more, more, more were right on target. I have sure been trying to reverse this and work on getting rid of the clutter/stuff that has accumulated in my life.

Bonnie Jacobs said...

Shirley, I haven't been meditating as in sitting down quietly, but I've been trying to be mindful by making myself blog about mindfulness every Monday.

Bonnie Jacobs said...

I meant to say something about clutter and acquisitiveness. As I try to sort out all I have accumulated in my 74 years, I realize how badly I've been overwhelmed by clutter. It seems to be my worst fault, and I'm trying mightly to overcome it. If you come up with a solution to this problem, let me know.

You know I'm a "bookie," so it won't surprise you that I have books about de-cluttering. The best I've read is Clutter Busting: Letting Go of What's Holding You Back ~ by Brooks Palmer, published in 2009, which I wrote about here:

Summary of the book: "Piles of junk in garages and closets, overflowing papers on desks, items unused for years, masses of unanswered email, clothing never worn, useless gifts that collect dust — all these things come weighted with shame and guilt and have a suffocating effect on spirit and soul. In this insightful book, Palmer shows how to get rid of the things in our lives that no longer serve us. By tossing out these unneeded items, we also eliminate their negative influences, free up energy, and unlock our potential. Based on the premise that your things are not sacred but you are, this book explores such fundamental topics as the false identities we assume through clutter, the fear of change those junk piles represent, the addictive nature of holding on to objects, and how clearing clutter makes room for clarity and sweeps away confusion and stasis (standing still)."

tlb said...

Bonnie, regarding clutter, I subscribe for free to Flylady. com, a website that helps me keep my house clean and decluttered by taking "babysteps" on a daily basis. I receive daily emails from Flylady that suggest simple daily steps to declutter and clean. The site also includes online tools and letters from fellow subscribers. For me decluttering my personal space seems in itself a mindful activity.