What Mindfulness Isn’t

And why meditation is only half of the answer

Adrian Drew

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Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past decade, you’ll have heard of mindfulness. You’ll have been introduced to its numerous benefits, encouraged to meditate and maybe even told that ‘just ten minutes a day will keep the blues away’. (I just made that phrase up, but if you’ve heard it, I totally called it.)

It’s everywhere: every blog, publication and on the chalkboards of every downtown hipster coffee shop. It’s incredibly difficult not to hear about mindfulness — a billion-dollar business that’s only just getting started.

I’m not here to moan about that, though. I’m here to offer a little advice, because as tremendously helpful as mindfulness could be, most of us aren’t getting as much out of it as we might hope.

The Irony of Meditation

Here I am, sitting in a Starbucks after having just emerged from the crowded, stifling and exhausting pilgrimage that is traveling on the London Underground, walking amongst thousands of people rushing to make it here and there as quickly as humanly possible.

I meditated this morning. And yet there I found myself, racing through the crowds like everybody else, engulfing my lunch en route and trying to move as fast as my legs would carry me. I wasn’t even in a rush, really — just a little late for a coffee date with an old friend.

That ten-minute silence at 7am was undermined by my wholly unnecessary sprint through the streets, moving at lightning speed for literally no reason and paying zero attention to the world around me.

I know I’m not the only one. We all find ourselves racing around every now and then, storming through green lights and doing everything at one-hundred miles per hour even if we don’t really know why. I guess it’s just super easy to get swept up in the busyness of the world and lose yourself a little.

Maybe it’s just me, but I can’t be the only one kidding myself when it comes to mindfulness. It doesn’t make any sense — making an effort to meditate religiously every day and then wolfing our meals down at lightning speed or whatever it might be. Surely that’s not mindfulness, is it?

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Adrian Drew

Owner of Mind Cafe | Let’s chat on Instagram: @adriandrew__