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Out-of-our Mindfulness

You see it everywhere—information about the coronavirus. What to do-what not to do versus propaganda versus truth—a three-way death match the bodes ill for successful resolution. It’s not news designed to be consumed abstemiously, the media wants you to gorge. This happened over there, that might happen hear admonitions. I keep seeing the word ‘uncertainty’.

Bummer.

I believe most humans have a problem with uncertainty. Sometimes they mask that problem with certainty in something that isn’t true (or real). In general, people have a hard time stepping up to mystery…

Oh sure, there have been, and will continue to be, problems. But all the problems I see being addressed are in the practical arena. Whether suggestions for sanitation or explorations of managing anxiety, they seem to be missing an important truth.

A pandemic is not an excuse to abandon mindfulness.

So many ‘what-if’ analyses! So much diving into the future! I see a wholesale relinquishment of some very fundamental principles of mindfulness. You wanna address the treatment of Covid-19? Start encouraging people to stay. In the Essential Moment.

The insistence of preparation does not have to take us out of the moment. We can and do make decisions from the comfort of this instant. Decisions, good ones, are precisely what is needed in this situation. And decisions that are made with mindfulness will optimize the process. Perhaps the first decision should always be, “Am I going to use mindfulness to stay oriented in the Essential Moment?”

I’ve discovered that the only time I really have difficulty with that decision is when I’m stressing. My brain is wired to reprioritize threats as each is encountered when I’m troubled with fear and anxiety. Some of the reprioritization is necessary—but you can easily use the same mechanism to fool yourself and decide that thinking in the future has a bigger ROI than it does. Every decision made on the future is, by definition, unreal. Venturing there too often will only obfuscate the solid lines between the dots. Staying in the moment has the value of attachment to reality. The only place anything will ever change is in reality…

Another way to stay real is to make the conscious decision to step up to mystery. Our brain-entrenched negativity bias leads us to assume mysteries turn out bad. But I can’t find any truth to that. Maybe in my life the evidence is bad outcomes versus good outcomes is 60%-40%. But it’s certainly not 100% bad.

There might be reasons to embrace mystery, but I think you’ll find one side benefit is an increase in courage. It takes effort, bravery even, to step up to mystery. Just as it takes an effort to stay focused in the Essential Moment. The more you lean in to mystery, the more you build courage.

And if you ask me, we’re going to need a full measure of courage to adapt to the new reality of life on planet Earth.


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