At times, mindfulness is inaccurately portrayed in the media, either trumpeted as a homeopathic cure-all or criticized as nothing more than a fad. Lately, we’ve seen mindfulness labeled as a selfish practice, grouped with other indulgences such as days at the spa or luxurious vacations which market themselves as “self-care.”
These misconceptions usually refer only to the practice of mindfulness meditation, but often overlook the essential distinction between mindfulness as a practice and mindfulness as an ideal. We must remember when we practice mindfulness: whether we practice meditation, mindful eating or walking, or simply have a desire to lower the stress and distractions of daily life, that we seek to fully inhabit the present moment and notice, rather than react to, what is happening around us. In this way, we are taking one step in a life-long journey to develop a mindful life, one in which we strive to cultivate acceptance, compassion and resilience.
Cultivating these qualities is as much a communal act as it is a personal one. It is important that we take time to know and accept ourselves so that we may better connect with and support others. Meditation can be a powerful tool for this personal growth. When we extend our practice into our relationships with others, we allow ourselves to be fully present in their lives as well as our own. In this way, we can turn a solitary act into a selfless one that benefits our families, schools and communities.
You can learn more about this approach to mindfulness as a way of life in the upcoming training this October and November. Register today.