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