Mindfulness IS for everyone

There's a common perception uttered in mindfulness and related circles if someone says they don't like mindfulness, that "That's OK. Mindfulness isn't for everyone."

This view, that mindfulness is just another take-it-or-leave-it choice in the crowded commercial market for personal wellbeing, is so wrong as to be reckless or even dangerous. It also reflects a huge misconception about what mindfulness is.

People who say such things think that mindfulness is the quasi-meditative practice centred around focussing on the breath. In that regard, it's certainly true, this practice doesn't work for all people, especially people with health issues related to breathing,, such as severe asthma sufferers. Moreover some people just might not enjoy doing it.

But mindfulness is not simply a practice, not a technique, not an exercise. That's to mistake a training technique for the real thing. The real thing in this instance is living. Life. This moment. Mindfulness is a method by which we navigate and steer each moment in order to avoid negative outcomes, and where possible to create positive, enjoyable, and nurturing results.

Without being highly aware ie. mindful, no one can successfully steer their way through life's inevitable challenges, woes and tragedies. So mindfulness is a necessary skill for living a full life, just as breathing and eating and sleeping are.

True, one can exist without being mindful, but without it individuals are reliant on something utterly unreliable, their automatic mind. If they live their life "guided" by the automatic mind, it's not really life at all, but a series of volatile experiences, being shunted from one reaction to another, a bit like a pinball in a machine. Moreover that level of self-direction, purpose and self-control is so low that this scarcely deserves the term "being alive". It is more like living a zombie life - not dead as such but not truly living either. Most people, tragically, "live" like this.

With mindfulness - the developed skill, not the training methods that develops the skill - we do gain an increasing degree of control over our decision-making, and our responses to life's events, and in this way we come to have a richer, more fulfilled, and happier life, a life that we come to love deeply in all its many forms.


© 2019 by Martin Stepek.