Mindfulness and FreedomMarch 18, 2014 Leave a comment
I am just returning from my very first visit to India. I had the unbelievable privilege of participating in the first “Four Noble Truths Event” hosted by the Sarnath International Nyingma Institute. It was in Sarnath, at the “stupa” pictured here, that the Buddha offered his first sermon – 2500 years ago!
The event was described as “a group of free thinkers in a wide-range of fields coming together to re-appreciate the Buddha’s insights in combination with their own journey.” While the Buddha’s insight was at the heart of our convening, it was not a Buddhist event. We were a group of Christians, Hindus, Humanists, Yogis and Buddhists.
A single blog post can not begin to capture the wealth of this experience. I’m actually writing about it because in my travels I’ve also been reading “Leading from the Emerging Future.” Scharmer and Kaufer write about the shift in attention that is necessary if we are indeed going to be able to address the very real challenges facing humanity today.
I myself I’m not a Buddhist. But I can recognize that there is something in the Buddha’s insight that is of great significance to what we are trying to achieve. Mindfulness is at the very heart of the four noble truths, and mindfulness is what allows for the shift in attention that will allow us to face the challenges before us.
I took this picture from the Scharmer and Kaufer book
Evidently, as shown in the graph above, I’m not the only one that thinks so. Scharmer and Kaufer quote the Dalai Lama himself challenging scientists to come up with non-Buddhist, secular methods to address destructive human emotions.
When I consider my emotional, spiritual and psychological life, when I consider my facilitation work, it becomes quite evident that mindfulness practice is among the most useful tools available to me.
When we consider hyper advanced capitalism, and the onslaught of advertisement that violently attacks our “psychic environment” – demanding, and in fact stealing, our attention – it also becomes clear that making skillful choices about our attention is not only a spiritual act, it is also a political act.
Techno Prophet Kevin Kelly says that our attention is our currency. The Buddha invites us to wield our attention as a key to liberation. This is one of the reasons why I practice, as well as why I have made a daily mindfulness practice one of the four essential components in my latest project – The Thrive Workshop.
So, how will you become more mindful?