Saturday, October 1, 2011


I managed to catch some of the "Creating a Mindful Society" town hall which was kindly streamed online.  Thanks to the thoughtfulness of Sounds True to make this available as a live stream to anyone.  

There where some great questions, please pardon my notes, paraphrasing and interpretation if they are not fully accurate and my lack of reference of the speakers:

Q. How is mindfulness different to meditation?
Mindfulness is a subset of mindfulness practice, mindfulness is generation of non-judgement fully attentive way of being.  Mindful works better with meditation because a formal meditation practice modifies internal state in a way that compliments mindfulness, both go hand in hand, like the left hand and right hand.  Mindfulness is moment by moment acceptance without judgement, (it involves awareness, but not necessarily thinking), which also happens in a formal meditation practice, both together come together in a form a perfect union. (I personally don't see much difference in them, although  with meditation you put some time aside, and focus on the meditation technique, I like to think that mindfulness integrates meditation into daily life)

Q. Positive Psychology vs Mindfulness
Happiness arrives in a spontaneous way with Mindfulness, its there, Positive Psychology although a step in the right direction, has lack of emphasis on specific paths to cultivate happiness, there is a difference between wholesomeness and (outwardly) happiness.  (Mindfulness lets you experience the whole range of your emotions, rather than denying them, accepting them as a teacher, learning from them.  Mindfulness, Meditation, Yoga, Qi Gong, Pranayama are all a laboratory to experiment and realize who you really are!).  A funny story was related when a Japanese scientist asked the Dalai Lama what was the most happiest time in your his life, the Dalai Lama replied saying "I think right now!"

Q3. There were several questions on how to make the mindful movement more prominent.
There were several answers, but the message was clearly that we don't want to create a false movement, better do just act in a mindful way, and to try to set up ways to practice and talk about it in your own circle.  Jon Kabat-Zinn indicated that if we unfold it in a conventional way then we may fall prey to conventional pitfalls as well.  Jon Kabat-Zinn said that one cannot put a center on awareness, and one cannot find the periphery of awareness.  He also said that we needed to be patient, and that a thousand year view of mindfulness unfolding could be taken, let us be patient and "lets not push the river", let us embody our own understanding, our own truths, and don't commoditize this, that would be a kiss of death.  Jon Kabat-Zinn said that we did not have to have a master plan of how it will unfold (otherwise it would be artificial, and there is already plenty of that in the world today!)

One of the lady speakers mentioned on could start with places where we work, in our organisation, mindfulness training can help organisations, leaders today can make better change, every person can learn to put purposeful pause in before caught up in a knee jerk society tends to make.  Create communities, do it in your work space, create a drop in environment.  (I think this is the key personally, it is industry that create jobs, that create the economics to support the society and the environment.  It is the industries that need to think about the financial, social and environmental ecosystem of their communities and the planet!)   

Jon Kabat-Zinn said we can look at action itself as a meditation to be held in silence "What is next? Hold it in the silence of now, and be very aware of the impulse to act, and trust that whatever that is required of you will flower in its own time".  This is a political act, a gestational process, is what is required is trust that we have intelligence to do what is right, when the time is right, in something that looks a lot like doing nothing.  Don't fall into a dualistic view that I have to do something, take a stand sitting in silent, be very aware of impulse, and trust that it will flower in its own time.  This is fundamental in a more mindful unfolding of society and the world.

Jon Kabat-Zinn also said that one should not fall into a trap of  a new speak of love, kindness, or compassion, we could use the words as little as possible, and simply be loving, kind and compassionate. Be in the doing rather the talking.  Don't make it into a problem that you have to solve "trust your heart", your essence is already love and compassion "there is a reality that there is a aspect of our being that we can visit from time to time, that is beyond thought, have fidelity, authenticity, trust in our own hearts, practice it, enact it, embody it, be it failing over and over again, what's the big deal yourself if you fall on the ground, that's how these muscle are going to exercise us.

Saki Santorelli paused briefly and said Revolutions can create shallowness.  He then asked ourselves to ask the following questions of us:

What has been entrusted to you?
What have you been endowed with?
These are not easy questions to answer, but let it lead you.

Saki Santorelli went on to say, lets us put one foot in front the other, and try to walk, to roll up sleeves and say here I am.  We each are entrusted with something, endowed with something, Do just that, Be just that .  World will not change if we don't act (if we don't contemplate).  Failures are a good thing , it serves a good purpose, helping each of us will find our own way.  We don't need to drumbeat about to announce it, just discover you own happiness, own sadness, own capacity to love, its all about being a human being.  Just get out your own way to be a human being.  Take responsibility in your own way.

There was some mention of some links and references, so I pulled together what I could while watching and family: Studies at NIHInformation overload CIO Google, Jon Kabat-Zinn & Google (video above), Indra's net.

I hope everyone gets a chance to see the recasting of some of the events, including me starting Oct 3 @, it may be available for 30 days free (Thank you once again soundstrue for your gracious and thoughtful actions to share this experience across the world).

This event fills me with hope, and gratitude that there are some really good people out there that can help people like us, help us change for the better and that  change in the world is possible, be it difficult as it seems now..

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