The great Buddhist monk, Thich Nhat Hanh, encourages us to live mindfully every day, every hour, every moment. It exhausts me to think of it. Yet, when I practice mindfulness I feel extraordinarily connected to the present moment, no longer exhausted.
If I am to be honest, mindfulness does not come easily. It comes with practice. For years, I have practiced meditation and yoga. (Yoga long before it became today’s trendy, sweaty, maniacal, body shaping American drama.) Despite the fact that mindful moments can be fleeting, mindful meditative practice remains a mainstay in my life. And it is the practice of mindfulness that has become my teacher. In mindful practice I find a respite from, as well as an invitation to go deeper into, the challenges inherent in my professional and personal life. In the practice of mindfulness I find stillness. I find acceptance.
At a broader level mindful contemplative practice offers the opportunity to engage more fully with our families, our neighbors, our professional communities and democratic process. The cultivation of mindfulness offers the opportunity to find wisdom through introspection. The practice of mindfulness is inherently a private practice. Yet corporations have also come to value its positive impact on concentration, creative process and productivity. Companies from Microsoft to Google are known to offer mindfulness workshops for their employees.
Personally, I find that the practice of living mindfully brings me understanding with greater clarity. Experiences that once caused me angst, I no longer fear. Circumstances that troubled me, no longer cause turmoil. Challenges that I once saw as extraordinarily complex, simplify. In short, I find acceptance. In acceptance, I see the world as it is, not as I want it to be. In acceptance my senses are fully engaged. In acceptance I find the answers I need.
Some years ago a wise woman shared these words, which find their origin in Buddhist mediation. As we begin our Media Ethics journey I share them with you. “May you know peace. May your heart remain open. May you know the beauty of your higher self. May you be healed. May you be a source of healing.”
As you approach the exploration of ethical practices, may the the practice of mindfulness provide you with a calm spirit and lead you to wisdom and clarity. For the world will challenge you with exquisite illusions and tantalizing false promises. Be steady. Be still. Be well.