When in doubt, listen to Michael

Guest Post by Charlie Becker, Future Advertising Professional

When I read “Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life” I was unsure how mindfulness pertains to ethics.  After reflecting, I believe that mindfulness is ethics. This may seem like a stretch but I’ll explain my reasoning.

Screen Shot 2013-04-12 at 4.04.27 PMYou don’t have to look hard in today’s world to find ethics (or lack thereof).  For every ethical action, there are many unethical actions.  This became apparent in a recent article about how whistleblower tips led to $3.3 billion recovered by the U.S. Justice department in cases involving frauds against the government.  The article also said that “Overall, whistleblowers received $439 million in Justice Department cases in the 2012 fiscal year.” There is a great reward for being a whistleblower, but it shouldn’t be about the money.  I think whistleblowers should be rewarded by knowing they did the right thing.

So how exactly does this fit in with mindfulness? John Kabat-Zinn says “Meditation is the only intentional, systematic human activity which at bottom is about not trying to improve yourself or get anywhere else, but simply to realize where you already are.”  Not everyone is in the position to blow the whistle on a company.  However, everyone can make more ethical decisions just by taking the time to evaluate your current state.

In a perfect world, everyone would practice mindfulness.  But, we don’t and that’s okay, because it only takes one (mindful) person to speak out against unethical practices to make a difference.

This book taught me that everyone can be more ethical if they are mindful.  Being mindful is optional. Acting ethically is optional.  But living with those decisions is not optional. So in the words of Michael Jackson:

“If You Wanna Make The World. A Better Place. (If You Wanna Make The World A Better Place). Take A Look At Yourself, And Then Make A Change”

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