A story in this week’s New York Time Magazine discussed the history of mindfulness education in America and points out that it has its origins from the 1880s where a British judge translated the term from the Buddhist concept of sati into our word for attention.
Mindfulness, as a brand, took root during the 1960s and under the work of Jon Kabat-Zinn has reached all the way into hospitals, executive c-suites, professional sports teams, and even into public education.
Prospect Hill Academy Charter School in Somerville, MA is providing all of its 300 elementary school children mindfulness classes throughout the week as a way of helping them bring more focus and attention to their lives both inside and outside of school. School leaders believe that today’s generation of students carry a lot of stress in their lives and will benefit from a few minutes of a quiet mind.
I still face the challenges of people looking at me weirdly when I mention doing a mindfulness exercise at a workshop or in a coaching session. Concerns about closing eyes, focusing on breathing and letting go of thinking is imposing for most of us. But after just a few minutes as people’s face’s relax and their breaths become deeper and softer, they awaken from this brief respite renewed and relaxed and wonder why they don’t do it more often.
It’s not too late to join the party. Just go ahead and take a deep breath and let it out with a verbal sigh…
© Richard Citrin, All rights reserved, 2015