After reflecting on the inability of people to wait, I wondered about the widespread promotion of “mindfulness.” I don’t remember hearing this word so widely used until the last couple of years. I was always familiar with prayer, meditation and contemplation, but not “mindfulness.” As far as I can tell it is a gentler name for the practice of paying attention to the moment. In the moment, one is expected to just “be.”
Now as far as I can tell, this is what waiting used to do for people. You had to “just be,” since there was nothing else to do. Perhaps mindfulness is a perfect antidote to the frantic pace of life with its 24 hour news cycle and instant everything. I realize that there is more to mindfulness than just “being,” though that skill alone seems to be absent in many people. It also, as far as I understand it, asks you to accept what is at that moment. Again, that is the opposite of the pace of American life. Again, that is the same as the old routine of waiting.
Apparently just sitting still is anxiety producing for many people. I would guess that is from lack of experience. All around I see people staring at their phones when they are in line, at their kids dance practice, in the dentist office, or sitting at a traffic light. They look like great opportunities to practice accepting what is and just being. And you can avoid having to buy the book, the CD, the course or the seminar. Mindfulness for free.