Mindfulness, meditation, paying attention, “being here now” is a self-discipline that people develop over a life time. You already ’practice mindfulness’ when you remind yourself to stop worrying and enjoy the play, ball game, movie, book, t.v. program, birthday celebration, or hobby in which you’re currently engaged. (A useful definition of “to worry” is to project yourself into the future and anticipate a negative outcome.) When you remind yourself to stay in the present, you’re practicing a rudimentary form of mindfulness.
But, there are reasons to get better at it. The fact is, you can also risk staying in the present for negative events. Part of ‘practicing mindfulness’ is internalizing the knowledge that everything changes. If you can stay with the present, even the most awful experiences will pass and you can regain an emotional equilibrium that returns you a present filled with innumerable small gifts of grace. You will know that you do not have to project yourself into a future of negative consequences from a current depressing event. But this takes practice.
Why suggest yet another tool a la “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” or Sun Tzu’s “Art of War” to meeting planners? Simply because mindful meditation is at least 2,500 years old and remains as beneficial to the present as when it was first conceived.
You might begin your new practice with exercises at UCLA’s Mindful Awareness Research Center .