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Lions Roar : September 2008
56 SHAMBHALA SUN SEPTEMBER 2008 MINDFULNESS IS being purposefully aware. It is noticing what we are experiencing and our response to those experiences. It isn’t simply knowing we are eating an apple. It is paying precise yet relaxed attention to the sweet smell and to the crunch between our teeth; it is paying attention to the glossy red skin and the bruise near the stem. Mindfulness is contemplation, meditation—and it is not only for Buddhists. Most spiritual traditions, including Christianity, Hinduism, Judaism, and Islam, have pro- found contemplative practices. The Buddhist approach to mindfulness, however, is often seen as a valuable tool for people of all faiths (or no faith) because it doesn’t require a belief system. Therefore, it’s possible to engage in Buddhist-style mindfulness without having to give up a belief in Allah or science or skepticism or any other form of belief. To gauge the inroads mindfulness is making into our culture—as a nonsectarian method to enhance people’s lives—I’ve done a spot survey of how mindfulness practice is benefiting people in five different sectors: health and healing, caregiving, education, Not long ago seen as fringey and foreign, mindfulness practice is going mainstream. ANDREA MILLER looks at five fields where people are seeing the benefits of mindful living. Andrea Miller is associate editor of the Shambhala Sun. LEFT:MICKHALES,RIGHT:THEINNERRESILIENCEPROGRAM The Mindful Society SEPT 56-63.indd 56 SEPT 56-63.indd 56 7/3/08 1:31:58 PM 7/3/08 1:31:58 PM