Aspects of Mindfulness in a Chaotic World

Liz Miller

Aspects of Mindfulness in a Chaotic World

“Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us. It is rare we settle in the present moment. A moment starting in medieval time was 90 seconds in length.” 

Allow yourself to sit in a moment of 90 seconds. Pay attention to what is around you. Is there an insect climbing a tree? A rainbow?  You might notice your collarbone is twitching or your breath. These are the moments we let pass by because we are in a pattern of doing -  doing - doing.

“Human beings are not called human doings. But we don’t allow ourselves to sit in a moment and be a part of it,” said Jeanine, the leader of the biweekly Interest Group: Mindfulness in a Complex World

Often as our minds wander we are in the past or the future not now.

There are a couple of key points you can remind yourself of as your mind wanders.

  1. The past that already happened. - You can’t get back!
  2. The future hasn’t happened. -  You can’t predict it!

Jeanine turned her life from one filled with stress and undealt with trauma to one where she developed the capacity and the spaciousness to be with and work with all experiences.  Sometimes that is managing the difficult, and other times it’s appreciating the moment of beauty all around us.  Jeanine’s youngest son asked his mother how she saw her new path as success.

“Just the fact I’m aware is a success. The fact my family and friends see this individual that is not reactive anymore is a success!”

Jeanine believes that everyone can benefit from mindfulness if they are willing to put in the work.   While Jeanine knows through her own lived experience that mindfulness has helped her, since completing  her graduate certificate program in Applied Mindfulness she has also studied the scientific evidence which suggests that these programs may be advantageous for promoting cognitive, emotional, and physical health within the context of advanced aging.  Jeanine knows that mindfulness takes consistency and practice! 

“I’m living proof that it works. I’ve seen it work for the individuals I’ve worked with. It has personally changed the trajectory of my life in the most unique and beneficial ways.” 

A peek into the mind of mindfulness

Perhaps understanding awareness and the capacity to be with as part of mindfulness is reflected in this poem by Rumi.

The Guest House

This being human is a guest house.

Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,

some momentary awareness comes

as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!

Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,

who violently sweep your house

empty of its furniture,

still, treat each guest honorably.

He may be clearing you out

for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice.

meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.

Be grateful for whatever comes.

because each has been sent

as a guide from beyond.

— Jellaludin Rumi,

Mindfulness allows a person to look at some of the emotions considered uncomfortable and hold them with empathy and compassion. 

“Suffering is the gap between expectation and reality.  A lot of people don’t necessarily understand that.  Suffering opens you to so many other things if you allow it.”

Suffering as well is not always individually based but can be collected through the social environment.  Mindfulness seeks to take into account that we live in a social environment and global decisions affect people differently.

“If we didn’t think we were interdependent before, consider the pandemic, climate change and deep social polarization. These  topics let us know we are interconnected. These social and environmental factors touch us all.”

Together, through mindfulness, people can create kind, compassionate, and supportive environments within themselves, in shared spaces with others and have a rippling effect throughout the global community. 

Join Jeanine and other like-minded people to create positive shared environments in the biweekly Interest Group: Mindfulness in a Complex World.

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Aspects of Mindfulness in a Chaotic World
Aspects of Mindfulness in a Chaotic World
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