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Be Mindful (Part I: Basics)

February 1, 2015

There are lots of readily available articles and books on mindfulness and related topics; but I’m going to share a few thoughts, in four parts, because I want to, and I’m the narrator here.

This first part is especially important to the narrative point of view. When we look with the standard Western point of view, dualism, we see bipolarity. There is the unconscious or consciousness, body or mind, body or soul, human or everything else (I’ll call it the universe), creator or created. As Emerson suggested, it is sometimes practical to think that way, because we are accustomed to following our eyes looking either up or down, and so on. But that viewpoint is misleading, because only partial.

In understanding and practicing mindfulness, we shift our point of view to the holistic. We can begin our shift by suggesting that these seeming polarities are not separate entities, co-existing; but rather, each pair of terms expresses an idealized extreme end of a continuum (looking way down and slowly turning our gaze upward, closing our eyes, dreaming of standing on a mountaintop, etc.). That modification makes our thinking even more practical, because closer to being accurate. No gaps. No lines of demarcation.

But then, when we have become comfortable with that modification, let’s see that it, too, is an error of dualism. These actions, these energies, up and down, unconsciousness and consciousness, body and mind, body and soul, us and the universe, (creator and created, if we follow that model), actually exist simultaneously, interactively, mutually informing and interfused.

As a common illustration: we look at light from one point of view and it’s nature is wave-like, and then we look from another point of view and see that it is partical-like. A major activity of a healthy mind, as affirmed by Keats and confirmed by science, is the ability to hold equal and opposite “truths” (observations from points of view) simultaneously, without having to leap to one and negate the other.

So, that’s the narrative point of view here: it’s all energy, taking various forms simultaneously; and specifically my “mind” is doing a bunch of interrelated conscious and unconscious actions, with chemical-electrical charges happening in my toes and belly and amygdala and cerebral cortex, and yours, and Puget Sound, India, the crab nebula and who knows where. No soul without body, no body without soul. No universe minus my body, no body of mine without all the rest.

When we listen to our body we are listening to the universe; care for one, care for the other. Focus on our breathing, focus on our soul, and the universe’s. Be present here now, be present everywhere and always. Be real. Be “mindful.”

(Keeping in mind, too, that it is the universe that is present, being.  We practice our presence, of mind, as participation in its presence.)

[Mindfulness Pt II]

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