Many people have written beautiful pieces about the importance, and their experience, with mindfulness: the ancient practice and supposed modern anecdote to our perpetual dissatisfaction. Live in the moment, be conscious of every sensation of your daily experience. This kind of awareness, in my opinion, is more than just a proposed solution to our human condition, it’s the final frontier, it’s the place we will all find ourselves, at one point or another: either embracing each moment as it comes, or letting them all wash by us — mindlessly. So when I say that what we really have to work on is mindlessness, I by no means am actually talking about not being mindful, it’s just a play on the phrase (I wanted to clarify in case there was any confusion).
What we really have to work on is mindlessness…
We talk about the importance of mindfulness in the context of being conscious and present, completely immersed in our experience. That is crucial. But what is also crucial is realizing that much of that has to do with how we can transcend the mind. We live in a culture, and a period of human existence, that is far too concerned with what we think about things. Though reason is crucial to our development, it sometimes denies our instincts, desires and pleasures in place of expectation and “normalcy.” We can’t be surprised that when we try to confine the fluid, natural, untamable reality of a human soul that we end up suffering as we do.
We are a species disconnected. For all the technological advancements we’ve made, our ability to connect on a human level is miles away from it’s natural, primitive state. Our daily discussions are so deeply imbued with value placed on man made means, we are focused so much on what man can do and not nearly enough on what man is. We are steadily moving away from concepts of religion, associating faith and trust with ignorance as opposed to spiritual intelligence. We simply don’t value the reality of our human existence, the part of us that is up for interpretation, partially because it’s unknown, and mostly because we can’t agree on anything or know for certain, so we deny it rather than embrace it’s unknownness.
What we think we become. And if what we are becoming is any indication, we are thinking far too much about the things that don’t matter and not making room for uncertainty, for discomfort, for the things that are indeed unknown but which yield the best outcomes. The ones that are indeed larger than our mind’s comprehension.
In our incessant mindfulness (not in the meditative way, but just in the fact that we process everything psychologically) we start labeling, categorizing and defining things. We become used to what’s known and disregard what isn’t. This doesn’t leave room for the acceptance of people and things that aren’t like us. We relinquish responsibility by putting other people beneath us. We declare their sentiments wrong and unjust, and therefore we are superior. We live in a culture that makes means and commodity out of ripping each other apart, and it functions healthfully because we buy into it. We love to see how other people aren’t as good as we are, how we can place them beneath us and find comfort in the knowing that we are okay because we are better than them. But we end up caging ourselves. We inevitably fall within what we once said was “wrong,” because we’re human beings, and dangerous territory is the mind that doesn’t leave room for the soul to falter.
We need to teach our children not to have screaming fits because it makes us look bad as caretakers but because learning to process negative emotions without being scolded and shamed for them is important. We need to become actively, consciously aware of what we are buying, clicking, associating and inevitably supporting, especially when it serves to do nothing but harm another person (even if we don’t realize it at the time). We have to stop defining people. We have to take our discomfort with the unknown and settle into it firmly, because the fact that we will be uncertain is a certainty. We have to realize that major change can only happen on a minor scale. One individual at a time. We have to move on from our minds and move into our hearts. What makes us the same is something our minds may never be able to understand. We have to let go of trying to understand everything else that’s collateral to suffice for it.