Mindfulness — it’s everywhere you look today. In almost every area of living, media is buzzing that people are finding mindfulness as a conscious practice of paying attention that enhances life. It’s actually a universal principle described in ancient texts, although today given a contemporary twist.
The remarkable potential that the practice of mindfulness delineates, is that it lets people know they can choose their thoughts and in a sense their reality.
The March issue of the Harvard Business Review features Harvard’s Langer Mindfulness Institute. Founder Dr. Ellen Lang describes it as working in three arenas: health, aging and the workplace. She said, “Mindfulness is a simple process of noticing new things. Mindlessness is letting the past determine the present… Now we’re trying a mindfulness cure on many diseases that people think are uncontrollable to see if we can at least ameliorate the symptoms.”
In defining its potential for human wellness and progress, the “simple process of noticing new things” or new thoughts is what one could have previously called intuition.
For an ancient text example of mindfulness, consider Elijah a Biblical prophet who lived about 3,000 years ago. He watched a great wind, an earthquake, and a fire pass by the mountain top where he was hiding from a death threat. Then he heard a still, small voice. He realized God wasn’t causing the threatening events, but was guiding him to his purpose, safety, and health inspite of human circumstances.
How do we hear that intuition, which some see as the voice of God? I was on a docent tour of the Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts home of Mary BakerEddy. In a passageway, the docent paused and told the following story. Eddy was a gracious hostess, who occasionally gave guests a tour of her home. In this same passage way with a small group she became silent as she listened to something.
There was a clock ticking. When her guests acknowledged they also heard the ticking, Eddy said, “And that is how still we must become to hear the voice of God.” I shared this account with a friend. Two weeks later my friend was lying in bed, in pain. As she looked at the clock on her bedside table she remembered that story. She tried to become still. Then she realized that her clock was electric and did not tick! But that no longer mattered. She decided not to be distracted by the pain, but instead to listen with spiritual intuition to God. She felt better, slept through the night, and went back to work the next day.
It’s heartening that intuition, a historical way of perceiving mindfulness, is being found an important part of contemporary life and health.