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mindfulness is not a tool

February 17, 2023

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i teach mindfulness a lot, and a large part of what i initially teach involves just dispelling what people think mindfulness is. so here are some initial thoughts on the subject:

mindfulness will not solve your problems

a primary misunderstanding is that mindfulness is a solution to your problems. if you’re anxious, take a mindful moment. if you’re stressed, take a mindful walk. have a mindful coffee. be a mindful parent. you can solve all your problems with mindfulness. it’s kind of gross…and it’s misleading! mindfulness will not solve your problems.

mindfulness will not clear your mind

another common misunderstanding is that mindfulness is a way to clear your mind. 

that’s actually called relaxation. and the research tells us it’s extremely beneficial for your nervous system to practice relaxing – so i highly advise you to do it – but relaxation is not mindfulness.  alas, mindfulness will not clear your mind.

mindfulness is a way of paying attention

mindfulness is a non judgmental “lens” of perception. it involves paying attention to your present moment experience, without judgment. 

mindfulness gives you a wider lens of perception that will open up new possibilities for your life. it may be more helpful to think about mindfulness as a platform for learning.

i often use this quote from Einstein, “no problem can be solved by the same consciousness that created it.”

while mindfulness won’t solve your problem, it will help you become more conscious of yourself and your experience of a problem. and when you become more conscious, you become better equipped to navigate whatever challenge or problem you are faced with, no matter how big or small. 

so if you are new to mindfulness, or have been frustrated with your prior experience with mindfulness, don’t get too discouraged. stay on it.

and do so with an understanding that mindfulness is a practice of expanding your awareness or becoming more conscious. that’s it. not as a tool to achieve any specific outcome. 

with practice, you will begin developing a powerful vehicle from which to live your life.

best of luck to you. 

donald

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