One of my professors at Santa Clara, Dr. Shapiro, is a real champion of mindfulness. She’s convinced that if we practice developing mindfulness personally it will make us better therapists. I can follow this logic, and besides, Dr. Shapiro seems quite awesome so I’m certainly willing to work on the concept.
Fortuitously, I happened to read a book last year by mindfulness guru, Sylvia Boorstein, which gives me a head start in understanding what exactly mindfulness is and what it isn’t.
One way to think of mindfulness is getting in a habit of seeing things in uncomplicated ways. Boorstein has a great story to illustrate this idea. Once she was trying to register for a retreat at a zen center and kept playing phone tag in her attempts to call Robert, the zen master, to schedule her visit. After about three or four attempts to reach the zen master, she said to the person who answered her phone call, “perhaps this means I am not meant to participate in this retreat.” And the receptionist simply answered, “probably it just means that Robert isn’t here.”
I’ve definitely been guilty of jumping to unwarranted conclusions like Boorstein’s leap. I’m also fairly certain practicing mindfulness will be a challenge for me. I have a few skills that will be helpful but in many ways it will be quite a challenge. I’m fairly impatient which won’t make it easy. But perhaps once I start practicing mindfulness daily (homework!), I’ll end up with more patience than I’ve ever had. Who knows?
“When the mind is clear, behavior is always impeccable.” -Syvlia Boorstein