Why Mindfulness is a Superpower: An Animation
This video is part of the Mindfulness Incubator video series. (1/16)
You may have heard this word mindfulness. It’s become something of a buzz phrase of late. So I’m going to give you one simple, serviceable definition which is this: Mindfulness is the ability to know what’s happening in your head at any given moment without getting carried away by it. Imagine how useful this could be.
Just as an example, you’re driving down the road, and someone cuts you off in traffic. How do you normally react? I think most of us normally react by having a thought, which is, “I’m pissed.” And then what happens next? You immediately, habitually, reflexively inhabit that thought. You actually become pissed! There’s no buffer between the stimulus and your reaction.
With just a little bit of mindfulness in that same situation, you might notice, “My chest is buzzing, my ears are turning red, I’m having a starburst of self-righteous thoughts, ‘I’m getting angry.'” But you don’t necessarily have to act on it and chase that person down the road screaming at them with your kids in the back of your car thinking you’ve gone nuts.
Now you might be thinking, “Don’t I need to get angry sometimes? Aren’t I justified?” I would say yes, but probably not as much as you think. The proposition here is not that you should be rendered by mindfulness into some lifeless, non-judgmental blob. The proposition is that you should learn how to respond wisely to things that happen to you, rather than just reacting blindly. And that, my friends, is a superpower.
How do you get it? The way to get it is through meditation. I believe that meditation and mindfulness are the next big public health revolution. In the 1940s if you told someone you were going running they would’ve said, “Who’s chasing you?” But then what happened next? The scientists swooped in, they showed that physical exercise is really good for you, and now all of us do it, and if we don’t, we feel guilty about it.
And that’s where I think we’re headed with mindfulness and meditation. It’s going to join the pantheon of no brainers, like brushing your teeth, eating well and taking the meds your doctor prescribed for you.
Let me just close by saying mindfulness is not going to solve all your problems, it’s not going to render your life a nonstop parade of unicorns and rainbows. Nonetheless, this is a superpower, and one that is accessible by you, immediately.
In recent times, the word “mindfulness” has been echoing through various conversations. It’s more than just a trendy buzzword; it’s a concept worth embracing. Picture this: mindfulness is the art of understanding what’s happening in your mind at any given moment, all without letting those thoughts carry you away like a leaf in the wind. The practicality of this skill is genuinely remarkable.
Think about your daily life. You’re cruising down the road, and someone rudely cuts you off in traffic. How do you usually react? Most of us, myself included, often react with an immediate surge of frustration, thinking, “I’m angry!” We let that thought consume us entirely, reacting without restraint, as if there’s no pause button between the trigger and our response.
But here’s where mindfulness enters the scene. In that same situation, with just a sprinkle of mindfulness, you might observe a different story unfolding within you. You’ll sense your chest tightening, ears turning red, and a surge of righteous indignation. You’ll recognize that anger is on the horizon, but here’s the kicker – you don’t have to succumb to it. You don’t have to chase down that reckless driver, engaging in a road rage spectacle while your bewildered kids watch from the back seat.
Now, you might be wondering, “Don’t I have the right to get angry sometimes? Isn’t it justified?” Yes, it’s a fair point, but the essence of mindfulness isn’t to turn you into an emotionless robot devoid of judgment. Instead, it offers a superpower – the ability to respond thoughtfully rather than react impulsively to life’s curveballs.
So, how do you attain this superpower? The gateway lies in meditation. I believe that meditation and mindfulness are on the cusp of becoming the next major revolution in public health. Think back to the 1940s when someone mentioned going for a run, and people wondered who was chasing them. Then, scientists stepped in, revealing the tremendous benefits of physical exercise. Now, we all engage in it, and skipping it leaves us feeling a tad guilty.
That’s the trajectory I envision for mindfulness and meditation. They’re set to join the league of no-brainers – akin to brushing your teeth, maintaining a balanced diet, or taking the medications prescribed by your doctor.
In closing, let me be clear: mindfulness won’t magically solve all your problems, nor will it transform your life into a perpetual parade of unicorns and rainbows. However, it is a superpower, one that’s readily accessible to you, right now. Embrace it, and you might find yourself navigating life’s twists and turns with a newfound sense of wisdom and tranquility.