Are you supposed to clear your mind, or focus on one thing? Forbes, Huffington Post, and others weigh in.
What is mindfulness? It’s a big question that’s getting addressed by everyone from major business publications to the daily blogroll.
This week, the Huffington Post published ten definitions of mindfulness from ten meditation teachers. But the item with the most traction was a blog from Lifehacker:
People think the goal of meditation is to empty the mind. It’s not about clearing the mind; it’s about focusing on one thing. When the mind wanders, the meditation isn’t a failure. Our brain is like a wayward puppy, out of control. Catching it and putting it back to the object of focus is the mediation.
And here’s Forbes on how to harness that focus:
Starting your morning with a quiet mind will help you be more effective throughout the day. Carve out time in the mornings, before the day’s madness ensues, to do a few sun salutations, eat a leisurely breakfast, go for a jog or engage in whichever activity helps you to still your mind.
Daniel Goleman, bestselling author of Emotional Intelligence and Focus makes a helpful distinction between mindfulness and meditation when responding to popular misconceptions of mindfulness:
“Mindfulness” refers to that move where you notice your mind wandered. With mindfulness you monitor whatever goes on within the mind. “Meditation” means the whole class of ways to train attention, mindfulness among them.
And finally, to really broaden the term “mindfulness,” here’s a definition from Mindful’s Editor-in-Chief, Barry Boyce, from the April 2014 issue of Mindfulmagazine. It’s an all-purpose definition that treats mindfulness as a quality that every human being already possesses, rather than something we have to conjure up:
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.