Ellen Langer’s perspective on mindfulness continues to blow my mind the more I think about it and do it.
Mindfulness is often defined as “bringing all of one’s attention to the present moment” or “paying attention in a particular way.” But how should one bring all of one’s attention to the present moment? And what should one pay attention to in order to be “mindful”? And for what purpose does a person engage in mindfulness?
A frequently used mindfulness meditation technique is to notice the breath as it goes in and out. This task is very boring and done over long periods sitting upright can be very painful. They don’t tell you that in the marketing though! The benefits emphasized are things like gaining a more peaceful mind, “changing your brain,” reducing stress, and improving concentration. Let’s take the last claim. What is concentration exactly, and what kind of concentration do we want to develop? (more…)