Mindfulness is all the rage. Everyone’s talking about it. Especially in business.
Mindful work. Mindful leadership. Mindful this; and mindful that.
The big corporations are on board. Like General Mills and Google and Apple and Yahoo and Aetna Healthcare.
Mindfulness has a lot of proponents like Sam Harris and Janice Marturano and Arianna Huffington.
Oh, and there’s research; a lot of research; from impressive places like Harvard and the University of Massachusetts: mindfulness practices will reduce stress and inflammation; they’ll increase acuity and productivity; and they’ll make you happier and give you a greater sense of overall satisfaction.
But here’s the rub. Mindfulness means that you need to show up in the moment. In this moment.
Not swirling; not distracted by the smartphone; not multi-tasking; not racing about; not running around.
Not in the past. Not in the future.
Seeing what is. Experiencing the present. Whatever it is: the good; and the not so good.
Which may be good; or not so good. Because we live is a culture of overwhelm; a state of continuous partial distraction. A culture in which busy has become a badge of honor. A culture in which busy has come to mean something: Like we’re important; significant; successful.
But as Brené Brown says, “It’s easy to convince ourselves that if we stay busy enough, the truth of our lives won’t catch up to us.”
Which of course is the ultimate “problem” with mindfulness: when we show up in this moment, we must confront ourselves. We must confront what’s working in our lives, and what’s not; where we’re full and where we’re empty. What brings satisfaction, what brings joy, and what brings despair. Which relationships work, and which ones don’t.
In the moment, you can’t hide from yourself. The camouflage of busyness is gone.
And, of course, that can be scary. Because you might have to do something different.
So before you you jump on the bandwagon, just realize that there’s a price to this mindfulness stuff.
You’ve been warned.