Mind or Mindfulness?

I once took a walk with Zen master, Thich Nhat Hanh (of course, there were 2000 other people with us)

I once took a walk with Zen master, Thich Nhat Hanh (of course, there were 2000 other people with us)

I learned from Buddhists that “mindfulness” can be very good (ironically they encourage “mind-emptying” rather than filling).  I especially liked walking meditation.  Mostly simple awareness of breath and the immediate environment.  I learned to pay attention, to be “awake” and alert to the world near at hand.  I still value those basic insights and think we might all benefit from a “practice” of mindful awareness.

Yet, I appreciate the balance of this Guardian article that asks, Why are we trying to think Less when we need to think More?

It’s fairly clear to me that IF people were thinking (reasoning, questioning) more, especially about matters of faith, we might have a healthier world, don’t you. . .think?

Breathe.  Think.  Comment. . .


About Chris Highland

Writer, teacher, freethinker, humanist celebrant, former minister and interfaith chaplain View all posts by Chris Highland

8 responses to “Mind or Mindfulness?

  • Vajradharma

    I am currently battling a crohnic disease (or two) and have much time to myself to contemplate and watch my mind. The trick for me is to practice contentment, when there seems to be so many problems to deal with. I am lucky to have support, but sometimes one is without the energy to think too hard.

    • Chris Highland

      I am sorry to hear that. Contemplation time can help focus on the needs at hand, can’t it? Practicing contentment. Now THAT’s not easy! Yet, somehow essential. I agree that it takes energy to think or “dwell” on life’s challenges. It just seems that many don’t give sufficient time to thinking, OR contemplation. Thank you for your comment, and I do wish you well.

  • smilecalm

    Nice! and the mind certainly
    likes the attention 🙂

  • Jack Saunsea

    To me, the value of “thinking less” comes in that in most of our daily lives we are almost always constantly thinking. Which is like constantly talking to one’s self; usually considered a sign of insanity. But I presume that by “thinking more” you mean that we think more rightly, whatever “rightly” may be. Am I close?

    • Chris Highland

      You’re close, Jack. Reasoning, considering, investigating, wondering. I sure agree there are times to rest the brain! And I’m not against some meditation. Yet, in our world where irrationality and ignorance is run amok (look at opinion polls), I hesitate to support Less thinking! Thanks for commenting.

      • Jack Saunsea

        Less thinking = less opinion polls? Hahaha

        I wouldn’t really say I am pro-less-thinking nor pro-more-thinking. What I find most interesting and perhaps important is how we view our thoughts. Thinking, to me, is a tool to be used, but it seems to me that most of us believe thoughts to be reality which is like thinking the the word “Steak” on a dinner menu is something you can eat. The menu is a very useful tool, but if we believe it is the real deal it can have disastrous results, which I think is a big reason for many problems in our world.

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