LENT: Week five, Thursday – Heartfulness
When you hear the word “mindfulness” if you’re not in some sense automatically hearing the word “heartfulness” you’re misunderstanding it. And mindfulness in any event is not a concept; it’s a way of being. And it’s a way of being awake. It’s not a big deal; it’s just that we’re never taught that this is part of the human repertoire. So what does wakefulness mean? It means resting in a kind of awareness that is so stable that it’s not thrown off by the comings and goings of events within the field of awareness. So that you lose your balance when things go this way and things go that way, but you actually stay grounded when things go your way, as we put it. And when things don’t go your way, it doesn’t mean that you have to rocket yourself or spiral into depression and hopelessness and a sense of despair. But very often if we take it personally and we feel like our successes say that we’re a good person and then, by extrapolation, our failures say that there’s something wrong with me, that I’m no good. And both of those are wrong. What goes up also comes down, whether we’re talking about the stock market or a ball that you throw up in the air. And if you mistake what you think of as the reality for the reality, then you’re going to suffer because you’re attaching the story of me, myself, and my successes and my failures to something that’s actually quite impersonal.
– John Kabat-Zinn, in an interview on On Being