I don’t mean to start some kind of political or spiritual debate here – especially if any of these words gall you (based on some of the people who use them today). So let’s divorce those terms from the man-bun men and millennial marchers who are trying to use them to sound like anything other than the hollow non-committal lost souls that they are. Let’s take one these words and put it to real use!
I first heard the term mindfulness about 10 years ago from the books and audio recordings of the famous monk Thich Nhat Hanh. In brief, mindfulness is a term that explains the Eastern meditation and thought practice of being fully present in this very moment. Not yesterday, not tomorrow – but right this second. Why does this matter? Well, when you’re whiling away the weeks alone on a life raft; or you’re dragging yourself through the desert with a shattered femur, it can be overwhelming to think about the vast unknowns ahead of you (and it can be damn depressing to reflect on all the suffering you’ve already been through). But if you could forget about the past and ignore your worries about the future – existing only in the present moment – you could drag yourself just one more yard. Then one more. Then another. By paying attention to the particular moment you are in, and bringing your complete attention to the present experience (even if it’s terrible) – you’re living moment-to-moment. And this has helped people of all walks of life to get through tough times. This has helped SOF hopefuls get through their toughest training (they’re not thinking about the 10 mile run with 100 pound ruck, they’re just thinking “one more step, one more step”). And it’s the kind of thinking that has helped ordinary people survive against unbelievable adversity. Forget about the tough times to come, just focus on the moment and crawl one more yard. Then one more. And keep it up until you die or survive.