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Mindfulness in Modern Society

Mindful: adj. – attentive, aware or careful; inclined to be aware

We have information at our fingertips. Smartphones, iPads, laptops, and other devices allow us to constantly engage in this new age of knowledge, an era defined by constant updates via social media and its vast network that allows information to spread as soon as it becomes available. Bombarded by emails and capable of working from home, we field phone calls and reply to memos as we drive our children to weekend sporting events, one eye glued to the screen of a mobile device while the other tries to watch our children perform; the workday never actually comes to an end.

From incredible connections with friends near and far, to seemingly limitless productivity, to an unbounded scope of potential to learn and spread ideas and information, technology has brought us together in an otherwise expanding and diverse world. We are capable of doing anything at just about any time; however, while inundated with that opportunistic information, are we truly mindful of what we are doing?

Despite the fact that our “minds are full” of different ideas, constantly jumping from one thought to the next as the influx of information proceeds, are we less aware of our surroundings, feelings, thoughts, and emotions, especially as they relate to our current experience? Perhaps we have compromised some quality for quantity, and in doing so, have actually lost the ability to completely focus, becoming less productive, efficient, and self-satisfied while dealing with greater pressures and stress.

In an ironic fashion, the ability to connect has actually caused a strong disconnect. We are a part of so many different things that it is nearly impossible to embrace the moment and experience it for what it really is, being mindful of everything it embodies, and gaining from it everything that we truly intend.

The article, The Mindful Revolution: The Science of Finding Focus in a Stressed-Out, Multitasking Culture, written by Kate Pickert and published in TIME Magazine the week of February 3, 2014, further elaborates on these ideas. It expounds on the concept of mindfulness, citing interesting research and empirical studies pertaining to the neuropsychological effects and processes that underlie the way we go about our lives.

We live in an unprecedented time in which the access to information is limitless. The information will always be there; perhaps our approach to it is what matters. Our mindfulness may change our experience, allowing us to truly engage in a world replete with ways to divert our attention.