Some time before dawn this morning, I lay in bed thinking about the meaning of mindfulness. When I say I was thinking about it, I mean that the word came to mind, and with it came a variety of meanings, each one with a trail of thoughts behind it.
The word mindfulness came to mind, because it is the term I sometimes use for what I was doing at that time. I was observing the flow of thoughts, feelings, and impressions through my mind.
I do this fairly often, usually in the early morning, and generally, I enjoy it.
At root, mindful is a simple word that means aware. However, as befits a word about the mind, it has been invested with many subtle meanings. It has been argued about. No, really.
The mind is an intimate and subjective experience. When we talk about it, we’re going to have differences, even misunderstandings.
For me, the mind is an everflowing fountain of wonders, ideas, impressions, memories. For much of my waking life, I discipline the mind to serve a purpose. I organize it to solve problems, direct actions, receive information, or communicate. During those times, I ignore, more or less, the everflowing fountain.
But in those night hours between the time I wake up and the time I rise to begin the day, I let the fountain flow, and I observe. I enjoy it. Sometimes the fountain gushes with such force that I’m driven to pen and paper. That’s good, too.
Is that mindfulness? That’s what I call it.