Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Concentration and Mindfulness

I have just finished reading a blog entry that talked about how an artist becomes lost in her work. This is what she says:

"I can get lost in drawing the same way I can get lost in a book. The world disappears and 'the zone' takes over. In that zone, nothing else exists. Not time, or space or people or surroundings. When I try to explain that to people it sounds as if I'm on drugs but its quite the opposite. I'm not escaping, I'm concentrating so hard that only what is on the end of my pencil or brush is in focus, the rest of the world is tuned out."

If you want to venture into the mind of an articulate, talented artist visit her blog Illustrated Life.

That paragraph caused me to think of the idea of mindfulness. This is an idea - or maybe a skill - that I have been working on for quite a while - it may even be one reason why I began and persist with this blog. One definition of mindfulness is:

"Being aware of and paying attention to the moment in which we find ourselves. Our past is gone, our future is not yet here. So what exist between them is the present moment. If I can observe and not get caught up in my thoughts, it is all that I have. The here and now, the present is the link which holds what was and what will be. My past was a series of present moments which brought me to this present moment. My future should it happen will be a series of present moments effected by only present moment in which I am now living, being, doing, observing, being aware or unaware, and attentive or unattentive."


Concentration and mindfulness are related. The artist that concentrates so hard on the act of creation has become very mindful but in a very focused way.

Mindfulness for me is less concentration and more awareness. I wish I had a skill that allowed me to become as immersed as the artist.

But I am limited to an effort to become more aware - aware of my surroundings, my thoughts, my experiences, etc.

Try becoming mindful. Mindfulness is linked to meditation somewhat but you don't need to meditate to become mindful. Stop for a minute during the day - become aware of everything in your surroundings and how you are reacting as you become aware. Then listen to your thoughts.

You can be you and an observer all at the same time

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