Mindfulness is being in the moment and paying attention to what is happening in that moment without allowing for your thoughts to drift away into opinions or recollections but staying within that moment and experiencing it.
An example of mindfulness would be meditating without thinking any thoughts that are not associated with your body and the way it feels while you are meditating. Being mindful in meditation might mean you focus on your breathing or the way your chest and lungs feel as you inhale and exhale.
Another example of mindfulness is using mindfulness while learning. Have you ever been talking to someone and you felt that they were not listening because they constantly attempt to tell you what you’re trying to say? They might begin to give you an example of a similar situation while you are still trying to explain your point.
While it is no crime to interrupt in conversation, it is a good example of what mindfulness is not.
To learn, one must be mindful enough to listen. There is an old proverb that says,
“One who cannot listen cannot learn.”
Listening is what mindfulness is all about. We go through life claiming to “multi-task” while we attempt to do several things at once but being mindful requires for us to be in the moment. We need to stop and listen.
Being mindful with the messages we get from our body and mind can open our eyes to overall health and wellness.
Being mindful about what is really going on in around us can open our eyes to the world.
Mindfulness in the Black community
Erik Erikson came up with a theory that I subscribe to on many levels but not all.
According to Erikson, humans develop in psychological stages and “healthy development depends on the mastery of” ( Hutchinson 2013) of the present stage.
In other words, according to Erikson’s theory, if one does not complete one stage, this incompletion will have an effect on the development of the next stage.
Erikson’s first stage is said to be from birth to the first year of life. Each stage has a developmental task and in this first stage, the task is to psychologically develop trust or mistrust.
Trusts vs. mistrust have a direct correlation to mindfulness because if you do not really trust someone, you will find it hard to listen to them and as mentioned above, “one who cannot listen cannot learn.”
Reflecting back on developing trust vs. developing mistrust, infants in a hostile, non-nurturing environment may develop mistrust instead of trust. If the negative attribute is developed, there will be personality and developmental issues for that individual.
An infant who cries too much and receives a spanking as a way to dissolve the crying will develop mistrust. Likewise, an infant who is placed in a room and left to cry may also develop an overall mistrust.
We can leave the last couple of paragraphs to our own inference as we attempt to determine whether or not someone has a predisposition to not trust or listen to others.
More importantly, mindfulness is great for meditation but vital to learning.
Blacks and minorities attending schools where historical facts are masked and bias perpetuate the textbooks as a way to promote assimilation will not be eager to listen and may be perceived as unable to learn as mindfulness will remain absent in the presence of such an atmosphere.
As a world culture, we should all be mindful about the position, point of view and existence of all cultures so that we do not offend or attempt to promote assimilation out of bias.
Hutchinson, Elizabeth D., Essentials of Human Behavior (Erikson’s theory page 56)