Do You Have to Be Uptight to Be Mindful? ~ Tatum Bacchi

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Is it possible to be mindful and light hearted?

It seems in my search to live a more mindful life, I’ve encountered so many people who are more and more judgmental. But isn’t that defeating the point? If we’re so uptight about everything that comes out of everyone else’s mouth, aren’t we hurting ourselves in the process of hurting others?

Isn’t it possible that every thought, tweet, blog post or status update isn’t about you?

Isn’t it possible that there really is “room for it all” as my yoga teacher would say?

Isn’t it possible that being mindful is about more than getting an opportunity to lash out, getting the last word?

Isn’t it possible that by always telling others that what they say or share is wrong that you ‘re actually being the opposite of mindful?

Isn’t it possible to be mindful and to be able to laugh it off, to let some things slide so you can focus your energy on something positive?

After all, negativity is like a snowball, building and building inside us. And isn’t acceptance and understanding more important than getting out a snooty response to something that really could have just been laughed off or let go?

Or maybe I’m wrong.  Maybe mindfulness isn’t at all what I think it is.

At the risk of opening myself up to harsh criticisms and comments, I ask: What does being mindful mean to you?


Editor: Kate Bartolotta.

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anonymous Mar 20, 2012 10:12am

Great post Tatum! I love how you are less concerned with fitting in with the 'cool kids' (in this case the mindful elitist) or appearing to have it all figured out, and more concerned with making true sense of things.

This may at first blush seem not to fit, but the following Bible verse has helped me tremendously on the subject of being mindful:

"'For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it"' (Matthew 7:13b-14, NIV).

To me this verse is not an excuse to tell everyone else how wrong they are, but rather a warning that there are infinite ways to get to destruction. For instance, while doing "pious" things may seem like it's leading to life, if self-righteousness and condemning others is the result, then, "oops!", I somehow got on that broad path that leads to destruction! Simply put, if what I'm doing does not produce more love (for this I must mindfully keep watch over myself), then it's destructive and not worth my time.

Thanks for sharing Tatum!

    anonymous Mar 20, 2012 11:27am

    Thanks Carla! I think that that bible verse is perfectly fitting here. Constantly telling people that what they are doing is wrong, only pushes them further from the cause, whatever it may be. Thanks for reading!

anonymous Mar 20, 2012 7:42am

[…] meditation as an elixir for my heart. It’s a medicine that heals any irritation, anger, or negative judgments I may be feeling for myself or for others. It softens my heart, so that I’m not afraid to enfold […]

anonymous Mar 18, 2012 4:09pm

You are wrong. Mindfullness is about people learning that my point of view is the right one. LOVE the postcard!

    anonymous Mar 19, 2012 6:18am

    See, I was afraid I just had it wrong. 🙂

anonymous Mar 17, 2012 11:42pm

OMG, the above comment is awesome, x!!! 0 likes

anonymous Mar 17, 2012 3:53pm

Yay! A writer pointing out the truth- Thank you Tatum. I have been involved in Insight Meditation and mindfulness practice for about 10 years. One of the most disillusioning aspects are students and teachers who seem to take it all WAY to seriously. Where is the fun, the enjoyment, the Life, the loss of face? Why are so many seemingly so uptight and so unhappy and not free – even after years of practice?

When mindfulness is divorced from the Compassion, Heart or God or Truth it becomes little more than a way to 'improve one's concentration' at best or another plate of armour for Saint Ego.(St Ego borrowed from my Guru's words – Love it!).

Attending a retreat yesterday, the teacher said that mindfulness was being taught by the U.S. Military as a way to improve soldiers concentration as they kill?!?

This is just an extension the of violence-inducing, individualistic, exploitive, seeker based relationship to spiritual practice that is seemingly the norm in many of the so-called 'spiritual' groups I see around and have been part of.

What is Mindfulness to me? Our natural state, an expression of our Love, of our Joy, of our Sadness. It is the unfiltered light of who we really are. I find "trying" to be mindful never works – I just get stressed. Mindfulness naturally arises, the more I let go, the more I Love something more than me (small m), my own story, my own 'life', my own opinion :). Mindfulness doe not lead to peace, mindfulness arises from the peace that is already present.

    anonymous Mar 19, 2012 6:21am

    Thank you so much! And your comments above share a lot of insight into what mindfulness really is (or really should be in my opinion!)

anonymous Mar 17, 2012 10:04am

Mindfulness is the art and practice of being fully present—fully alive—in each moment, in a state of unconditioned awareness. Therefore that would imply an inherent non-judgmentalism of what's going on. Though it's easy to see how some people can interpret "being mindful" as a means to criticize or further their own agendas.

Thich Nhat Hanh's book, The Miracle of Mindfulness, from which the mindfulness movement evolved, shows how true mindfulness is actually a meditation. As he writes, "While practicing mindfulness, don't be dominated by the distinction between good and evil, thus creating a battle within oneself." It's about being aware of the quality of one's thoughts. Then, he says, "Once you have reached such an awareness, there is nothing you need fear anymore."

    anonymous Mar 19, 2012 6:22am

    "Therefore that would imply an inherent non-judgmentalism of what's going on." Yes! That's what I'm searching for. Thanks for posting to spirituality Valerie!

anonymous Mar 17, 2012 10:03am

Just posted to "Featured Today" on the Elephant Spirituality Homepage.

Valerie Carruthers
Please go and "Like" Elephant Spirituality on Facebook

anonymous Mar 16, 2012 7:54pm

[…] Do you have to be uptight to be mindful? […]