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Sunday, March 11, 2007

Can Mindfulness Become Automatic?

In order to do anything reliably, it needs to be practiced. Even mindfulness or cultivating a tolerance for confronting the unknown, or anything else. You could put mindfulness into a "program" of familar habit which would spoil its positive effects, but then there are always going to be those clumsy trip-ups, surprises and nuisances that would be telling you how "unmindful" you really are.

The qualities of some disciplines do not integrate well into our "favorite" ways of doing things, and we must put them aside if we want to learn otherwise. Whether we "match" or sort for "differences," we'll notice something isn't right.
Describing qualities will often avoid cramming new stuff into our old familiar ways, assumming we "have it" if we apply our usual operations or "factoring" processes. If these things we want to "have" do not have the qualities of our former experiences of it, then we know we're missing something.

It would be nice to have unlimited learning be put on automatic, as it was when we were kids! Learning is a big job though, so as adults we're called upon to keep it together more often than open up and learn. Going from opening to learn to consolidating to apply the learning and then back to opening up to learn takes more flexibility than most grownups have. So we need some help from the kids and those who know how to learn easier.

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