Roger Harty: The Original Author of Mindfulness

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MINDFULNESS: A mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment.

I was first introduced to the whole area of mindfulness when I read the book The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle.

They say that necessity is the mother of invention and the necessity in my case was that I had suffered a severe bout of depression in 2004 and I was determined to find a way out of this terrible demise that I had found myself in.

A good friend recommended Eckhart Tolle’s book and being honest, since then I got hooked on it and I have never looked back.

It helped get me out of that dreadful hole and I can tell you I have no notion of going back in.

In fact I downloaded the audio version of that same book and all I can say is that it really worked for me.

I would highly encourage anyone in a similar situation to check it out. Thanks Be to God, it worked and I am ever so grateful.

A couple of things have always intrigued me about mindfulness.

No.1   If mindfulness is really all about clearing one’s mind of thoughts then surely mindfulness is the wrong name – it should be mind clarity !!

No.2   Mindfulness is all about living in the Now – but sure all we ever have is Now!

No.3   If you Google ‘Origin of mindfulness’ you will find that it is accredited to one Jon Kabat Zinn.

Now I have no issue with Jon Kabat Zinn and I think that it is wonderful that he has popularised mindfulness in the western world but I would definitely debate that he is the original author of this practice.

As I said above I was introduced to the practice of mindfulness through the ‘Power of Now’.

I now pose the question – What is the difference between ‘Now’ and the present moment?

I know it might sound silly but the truth is there is no difference. It is the same as arguing over the difference between tomatoe and tomato. i.e. the same thing, and a waste of energy.

A true story: I became enchanted by the Power of Now and all that it preached especially over time.  I noticed that it really worked when I practiced it. Reading is really no good, you have to give it time and attention and practice it.

Just like you can buy all the cookery books that you want but you will never get any good at it unless you are willing to break an egg!

Practicing living in the Now might sound silly, but the truth is very few people truly live in the Now even though the Now is all we have.

I was at work one day and a certain idea came over me, like a bolt of lightning when I came to the realisation that Jesus Christ was preaching the same thing – The Power of the present moment.

I asked myself ‘What is the difference between I Am and Now?’

The answer — No difference – again just like arguing over tomatoe/tomato – a waste of energy.

When Jesus said ‘I AM (is)  The Way’ — What He was saying was living in the Now is the way. He didn’t say ‘I Was’ or ‘I Will be’, He said I Am.

He also said – Be still and know that I Am God. Again reminding us that if we remain present we are creating the ideal environment to get to know God.

It is important to note here that Jesus spoke in Aramaic which is ancestral to Hebrew and then The Gospel was translated into Greek, then Latin and finally into English etc. Thus it is easy to see that little nuances can get lost in translation.

The main point I am making here is that Jesus proclaimed the practice of mindfulness as being the best way for living 2000 years before Jon Kabat Zinn.

Thus I would like to profess in my opinion that Jesus was the original author of mindfulness.

• Next week I am going to write about — Do The Opposite

One Comment

  1. Ann Gannon says:

    Very good Roderick