Some time ago I was reading the book “Business Ethics- A critical approach: Integrating ethics across the business world”, when I ended up doing the most exciting discovering of the year: the existence of the concept of Mindfulness, related to the business world. I remember that time suddenly turning into one of the most revealing moment of my whole academic experience.
“Being mindful” basically means being 100% conscious of the present, living the moment without making any judgment according to past experiences or future expectations; and actively listening to your sensations.
In few words, a mindful person is highly focused on the present and views it with curiosity. The main idea behind mindful meditation is to increase the field of perception and not being stuck in old prejudices and bad memories.
There’s nothing new, you may say, and that’s true! How many of us have watched the movie “Dead Poets Society” with Robin Williams, have read the book “Siddharta” by Hermann Hesse or participated in a random No-regrets Erasmus event? Weren’t they saying the same thing? That is: “here-and-now”, enjoy and live the moment.
However, reading those lines on my academic book encouraged me to take the topic more seriously. The concept of mindfulness is being studied deeply by scientists and psychologists and it is considered as a key element in happiness.
Let’s have a look at some of the benefits. Mindfulness contributes to:
- enhance working memory
- reduce stress, depression, and anxiety
- bring to less emotional reactivity
- increase the quality of relationships
- lead to a more ethical behavior
This is why, in the last few years, many big companies, like Google and Facebook, are adopting mindfulness training or workshops for their employees.
But, if, from one side, it is doubtless that being mindful helps to improve the well-being, physical and mental health, on the other side, mindful practices are not free of risks.
The mind’s nature is to wander. (Jon Kabat-Zinn)
The “pressure” of being focused all the time on the present moment can lead to a decrease in imagination. And that is actually what could happen if mindfulness practices are considered as a standardized fits-all solution.
Is all this thing to be constantly “down to earth” possible for all of us? In which cases it can lead to self-induced limitations such as less creativity?
And what about the daydreaming nature of human beings?
The act of dreaming helps to foster creativity, make better future planning, think with a goal-driven mindset and above all represents a fun escape from the boring routine.
If we’re always in the moment, we’re going to miss out on important connections between our own inner mind-wandering thoughts and the outside world. Creativity lies in that intersection between our outer world and our inner world.
(Scott Barry Kaufman)
However, an excessive wandering mind can lead to distraction, loss of focus and results, and, at the end, that’s what can make us unhappy. And so we go back to mindfulness, to take notice of when your mind wanders to bring it back.
As many authors have pointed out, a mindful and dreamy attitude should be complementary. Not necessarily, one thing excludes the other.
The only choice to make is not between embracing a mindful or dreamer attitude, while is to recognize when is the right time to be focused or not, when to be productive and when to be dreamy.
In two words, this is a mindful dreamer.