Why I Don't Like the Word Mindfulness

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by WILL SWYERS

This is such a popular buzzword, all over articles and magazines and books. I’ve found that it’s even a source of guilt for many people, having heard friends proclaim “I’m not mindful enough”.

Here’s what I think is going on here:

Mindfulness is a term for relating to your daily activities in a conscious way. People want to be less distracted and not feel like their mind is chaotic, so they seek out a mindfulness practice to make them more aware. . . but, the word mindful has a lot of associations for them that prevent them from feeling that it can be practically practiced in their life.

I’ve naturally tended toward overthinking. Being too analytical really suffocated me at many points in my life. The greatest creative triumphs, moments of playful aliveness, and of being in flow, came when I was completely unselfconscious. Something I would actually describe as more mindlessness than mindfulness.

So I understand why a lot of people who want to experience more peace have difficulty integrating their vision of what that means with the daily activities of their actual lives.  

Frankly, the term mindful just isn’t sexy enough for me to actually want to pursue it.

So I use the term activated.

For me it embodies a state of being awake and perceiving the world sharply and with a great sense of engagement. I like the level of energy behind the eyes of young children as they take in the world with wonder. I like to think of a river which is totally free and untroubled, but that flows with intense aliveness, with tremendous vigor.

That sounds more like something I want to bring into my life. Activation.