Mindfulness is really about love. Love and creativity. I know these are foolish, simple words these days, but sometimes it’s that worn out picture book in the library that speaks truth… generation after generation.
When we choose the practice of mindfulness coupled with a daily, contemplative discipline like meditation, we are cultivating our capacity to love. Mindfulness is love in action, so to speak. Learning to love yourself and love others. It is really very simple.
The three essential components of mindfulness are Time, Space and Energy. Mindfulness education is about learning the function and interrelationship between each of these three alchemies.
Time. When we give anything in life a regular dose of sanctioned time, we communicate value, concern, and care. We spend time with those we love, we spend time with our life’s work. The amount of time we give or receive radically transforms our perspective. Over time we grow old and wise. When we are present, time is eternity.
Space. When we provide ample space for something unknown to exist, we are opening the door of possibility. When we are full or constrained whether it be physically or in thought, there is no room for novelty and expansion. When we declutter the space, starting with our mind, we are inviting the whole world in.
Energy. Life requires energy. We learn to metabolize energy wisely in order to survive. Choosing a natural source of energy is best, because it doesn’t cause harm to yourself, others or the planet. Through sustained focus and understanding the field of energy that connects us to the earth and each other, we increase our life potential.
Mindfulness is about putting our best nature to work for us. It’s a very fair and equitable practice because we are all equipped with the tools we need. In teaching and learning, we can give the gift of time to our students. We can create space and novelty by doing right brain activities. We can help children become aware of energy and point out how we can communicate with each other without speaking.
We don’t often hear that we are learning how to put love into action when we practice mindfulness. We’ve been socialized to believe that love is too subjective and non-academic. Do we really need love to teach? Do we need love to succeed? Yet, when we really think about it, love is central to every exceptional school and every exceptional family. We learn how to love ourselves and take care of our bodies, we learn how to interact with others with respect and compassion, we work together to keep our environment safe, healthy and happy.
When a teacher says “I love my students,” what is she saying exactly? Do we question her integrity? Do we think she is lacking? Perhaps we wonder if so much love has made her biased and we question if she can assess her students’ performance accurately. These are all important questions.
Mindfulness can be a self serving, egotistical practice if we get too absorbed in it. It is possible to lose clarity and balance, like when we are infatuated. This is part of the human condition and the universe is very clever! So, yes, we must be careful and vigilant about mindfulness. We need to question what we are doing and ask if our actions demonstrate love in action. We must remain innocent and open.
Making a commitment to a guided contemplative practice such as meditation can help. When we engage in silent reflection regularly we allow our mindfulness practice to evolve and grow with deeper awareness. It is also a good idea to share your experience with others so that you can see the world as one whole. Sometimes we need each other to see and understand our surroundings more clearly.
Mindfulness is about love and creativity. It really is that simple. Sometimes foolish, simple words are all we need.