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Eye of the Optimist - Being Mindful

Being mindful is the opposite of being mindless. Behaving mindfully is the opposite to behaving mindlessly. More and more, it appears as though extreme mindlessness is taking root in various pockets of humanity and geographical places, from the blasphemous terrorists known as ISIL to corporate embrace of psychopathy, it is a fast spreading disease. The antidote is the antithesis, which is being mindful.

Let's look closely at what mindfulness means. It is an educated mind that continues to educate itself, in multiple ways, not just formal ways: from books, wise people, art and culture, experience, history, reflection, theory, fact, experiment, and debate. Living mindfully is a way of life, if understood in this light.

Living mindfully is to apply knowledge from that multifaceted education. It is to make mindful decisions; that is to say decisions that are informed, discussed and well thought out, as well as responsible. One thinks and consults before acting as normal practice.

The mindful person is mindful of others. She or he is aware of the social context, and operates according to well established values and norms. At the same time, the mindful person is alert to the possibility of offence against herself or others, avoiding making offences against others while decrying and defending herself from offences against herself. That is to say that the mindful person strives to keep aware of circumstances, constantly weighs the circumstances, while maintaining awareness of her rights and obligations, and those of society.

That is to say that the mindful person has a critical outlook and is willing to defend life, and well established values and norms. It is an active mindset that is generous of spirit and righteous about the welfare of the individual and community. Such a person will act to express criticism, trying to protest then rectify errors and harmful social behavior as a normal course of life. Such a person thus behaves responsibly. She is not generally passive, though she is peace minded.

It is a great human tragedy that some of the most mindless beings wield power and influence today. The absolute worst of humanity is coming to the fore and wreaking havoc, terrorizing others as a way of life and abusing life, language and religion along the way. Some elements cannot even be said to have any ideology, it is so bad. Others can maintain an air of credibility because they have somehow acquired the trappings of wealth and social status, although they are hostile to discussion and intellectual pursuit and science, and hostile to life and the environment. They foster and equip war for the meanest and pettiest of purposes, though they may try to cloak it in reason and humanitarian values. They try to disallow criticism and protest, and support the most mindless of fighters to do so. They try to reinvent human rights and democracy, turning meaning inside out, violating the best achievements and most cherished treasures of humanity, desecrating culture and respect for life.

The situation calls for a concentrated effort of becoming more mindful. It also calls for the most mindful to band together and speak out, defend the best of human knowledge and achievement, and endeavour to curb the spread of ignorance, violence for the sake of violence, war instead of negotiation, neglect of human welfare and disdain for nature, science and life.

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