Sunday, January 23, 2011

Mindfulness: It's Not Just for Buddhists Anymore

"Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom."  --Viktor Frankl

There is a rampant preconception that mindfulness is only a spiritual
tool. Due to this belief, many people who would benefit from
mindfulness reject it. Like many others, I do use mindfulness for
spiritual reasons; however, it does not have to be used that way. The
technique itself can benefit the most staunch of atheists. The act of
mindfulness is simply being in the moment with all of ones' senses
focused on where one is. It is a way of grounding oneself and becoming
centered. Benefits for those of us not interested in pursuing a
spiritual path include many things, but three major ones that I can
identify are:

1. Increased self awareness. When locating oneself in the moment, it
makes you more aware of yourself. This awareness is empowering and
like my favorite Viktor Frankl quote above, gives us the power to
change direction.

2. Greater self control. As I alluded to above, when we bring our
awareness to the moment, it helps us act with our authentic selves and
not act mindlessly in habitual ways. For example, when in the moment
and really paying attention to what you are doing, you may be more
likely to choose a piece of fruit for breakfast than a donut. Now, if
you are like me, you may grab the donut anyway sometimes, but
mindfulness will help you enjoy that donut much more fully than just
scarfing it down.  I talk about being more mindful about eating here:
3. The Several Physiological benefits. There are many benefits to
mindful meditation that research has supported. In fact, UCLA has a
mindfulness department (MARC) where you can read more about it, take
classes about mindfulness, and even have access to free mindfulness

I'd love to hear from others who have more ideas on the benefits!


  1. I agree with your words. just hard to do because we are creatures of habit. slow down and treasure the moment. you will never have it again.

  2. Mindfulness to me is the same as living in the NOW. My New Year's intention was to be present in all situations. Although I am not a master in this yet, it has shifted my life in amazing ways! I actually blogged about it twice! I love this post! Sometimes I read my own blogs for inspiration and now I have yours! Thank you for your work on this planet. Namaste'

  3. I used the Viktor Frankl quote on my wife's counselling site (this isn't an advert - you won't find it easily by following my links and its in the UK anyway!). We both read Frankl about twenty years ago and were so impressed. If you haven't read his books they are well worth getting hold of.