Why Mindfulness Is a Superpower: An Animation

You may have heard this word mindfulness,
it’s become something of a buzzphrase of late. I’m going to give you one simple serviceable
definition which is this: mindfulness is the ability to know what’s happening in your head
at any given moment without getting carried away by it. Imagine how useful this could
be. Just as an example, youre driving down the road, and someone cuts you off in traffic.
How do you normally react? I think most of us normally react by having a thought, which
is, “I’m pissed”. And then what happens next? You immediately, habitually, reflexively inhabit
that thought. You actually become pissed! There’s no buffer between the stimulus and
your reaction. With just a little bit of mindfulness in that same situation, you might notice,
“my chest is buzzing, my ears are turning red, I’m having a starburst of self-righteous
thoughts, I’m getting angry.” But you don’t necessarily have to act on it and chase that
person down the road screaming at them with your kids in the back of your car thinking
you’ve gone nuts. Now you might be thinking, “don’t I need to get angry sometimes? Aren’t
I justified?” I would say yes, but probably not as much as you think. The proposition
here is not that you should be rendered by mindfulness into some lifeless, nonjudgmental
blob. The proposition is that you should learn how to respond wisely to things that happen
to you, rather than just reacting blindly. And that, my friends, is a superpower. How
do you get it? The way to get it is through meditation. I believe that meditation and
mindfulness are the next big public health revolution. In the 1940s if you told someone
you were going running they would’ve said “Who’s chasing you?” but then what happened
next? The scientists swooped in, they showed that physical exercise is really good for
you, and now all of us do it, and if we don’t, we feel guilty about it. And that’s where
I think we’re headed with mindfulness and meditation. It’s going to join the pantheon
of no brainers like brushing your teeth, eating well and taking the meds your doctor prescribed
for you. Let me just close by saying mindfulness is not going to solve all your problems, it’s
not going to render your life a nonstop of parade of unicorns and rainbows. Nonetheless
this is a superpower, and one that is accessible by you, immediately.

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