Mindfulness – a religious practice, a discovery in neuroscience or an urban legend?

“Mindfulness isn’t difficult. What’s difficult is to remember to be mindful.” (John Teasdale)

2015-03-02 09.08.04

Mindfulness is a hot topic. You can read about it in many places, from popular blogs to the most rigorous scientific journals. All this information seems to lead to a lot of confusion about what it really is, how to approach it and whom is it useful for after all.


I have just read an excellent article on this subject in Psychology Today by the well known neuroscience expert David Rock, author of the book Your Brain at Work. I would like to share his article with you and encourage you to read it, because it offers the most clear and straight forward explanation of mindfulness I have come across so far.

According to David Rock, practicing Mindfulness is beneficial to us all, regardless of what we do, where we live or how much power we hold. The same is true for practicing Mindfulness, you don’t need an expensive corporate training or a yoga retreat to learn about this technique. In fact, he says, we actually do it without learning or practicing every now-and-then, when we instinctively open up our senses and focus on experiencing the immediate sensations of a certain moment, instead of thinking about tasks, processes and what to cook for dinner. Think about the moment you stop to smell a beautiful flower, you are likely to even close your eyes so not even your vision distracts from the wonderful sensation of the moment – experiencing the fragrance with every nerve in your body!

In this fascinating article Mr Rock describes how “You can experience the world through your narrative circuitry, which will be useful for planning, goal setting, and strategizing. You can also experience the world more directly, which enables more sensory information to be perceived.” This latter kind of experience, more direct and sensory, is what we commonly refer to as Mindfulness. As you can see, each one of us can consciously switch from our narrative circuitry to our sensory experiences, no religious commitment or specific ideological background required.

So, I encourage you to read the article below and start consciously switching between circuits. The benefits?  – You get to experience the world in a more direct way through your senses, which allows you to respond more flexibly. However, if you haven’t been doing this beware: it takes time to train these neurological pathways, so be patient with yourself and start practicing.

Who knows? – You might discover, that a whole new, fascinating, sensuous and pleasantly peaceful world exists out there.