Mindfulness and awareness 1

Ciao a tutti,


I’ve been spending some time with the concept of “mindfulness” or conscious awareness.    Mindfulness is a concept that is found in Buddhist philosophy and psychology.  The Wikipedia entry has this wonderful quote:

“Mindfulness is a way of paying attention that originated in Eastern meditation practices. It has been described as “bringing one’s complete attention to the present experience on a moment-to-moment basis” (Marlatt & Kristeller, 1999, p. 68) and as “paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally” (Kabat-Zinn, 1994, p. 4)” – Mindfulness Training as a Clinical Intervention: A Conceptual and Empirical Review, by Ruth A. Baer, available at http://www.wisebrain.org/papers/MindfulnessPsyTx.pdf

Here in New England, as we leave Winter behind and enter into the growing life of the Springtime, I’ve been spending more time in mindfulness. I say mindfulness rather than meditation.  To help explain the difference, allow me to use another quote from the article:

Mindfulness is defined as being attentive and aware, non-judgmentally,[11] [12] whereas meditation is engaging in a mental exercise (as concentration on one’s breathing or repetition of a mantra) for spiritual or relaxation purposes. [13]

For me, attentive observation has been a real eye opener and helped me realize that many people (myself included) go about their normal day-to-day activity by following a routine and don’t really take the moment to simply be aware and act with intention.

Since the Spring Equinox, I’ve been trying to be more mindful and aware. All this past week, I’ve been taking the time to spend an hour or two with the plants in the yard and the trees. They’re constants in my environment but how often am I actually consciously aware of them?  This year, their blossoming didn’t seem like an “overnight” thing”.  I’ve been consciously paying attention – observing – truly noticing. Watching the plants and trees in the yard struggle day-by-day as they begin to embody Spring. Today, the tulips finally were victorious in flowering. The lilac tree is just at the point where it is starting to blossom from buds to tiny, light violet flowers.  The rowan tree, so small still, has marshaled some magic and has produced half a dozed buds on its nearly bare branches.  They still have a way to go before they’ve totally embraced Spring but this year it seems even more special to me – because I feel that through mindfulness, I’ve become a part of it.

I’m not sure where I’m going with this post other than to say that through mindfulness I seem to be building up new alignments, and this is a good thing.


Mindfulness can be practiced in any aspect of your life such in the age old question – do you blow out a candle or snuff it out (or use some other method).  Mindfulness can give you a clue as to why. At the very least, it reminds you to act with intent.







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One thought on “Mindfulness and awareness

  • Kathy

    Have you looked into Stoicism? There had been growing interest in adapting ancient stoic philosophy for modern times. There are striking parallels with Buddhist philosophy. There is a focus on mindfulness and rational thinking in stoic practice. An excellent book that has recently been published is Stoicism and the Art of Happiness by Donald Robertson. Scientific studies have shown the both Buddhist meditation and CBT (Cognitive Based Therapy … based of Stoic philosophy) have excellent results in psychotherapy sessions. Another book, Stoic Spiritual Exercises by Elen Buzaré takes Buddhist meditation practice methods and applies the to stoic philosophy. I agree, mindfulness is a wonderful way to make new connections and see familiar things with a new sense of wonder… Kathy Jo