FAQ: What do you mean by somatic mindfulness?

This 4-minute video clip is part of the FAQ on the the embodied mindful pause. See transcript below the video.


I used the words “mindfulness” and “embodied experience” in describing this, and these can be big words.

Mindfulness, for some people, is some kind of a pretty special state that one reaches when one is enlightened, when one has spent hours and hours every day practicing a certain form of meditation… then gets to some level of mindfulness where all kinds of brain waves are now organized in a different way than they are in ordinary people…  And you’ve reached some kind of a super human state… Obviously I’m not talking about that.

When I’m talking about mindfulness, I’m putting the bar very low. Mindfulness is being, say, the opposite of mindless. So instead of not being here, instead of being mindless, instead of being distracted, it means being a little bit more present.

I’m using mindfulness in the sense of being able to shift your attention, to have some control over where you put your attention. And again, not in amazing situations, not about, say, a time when somebody is putting a gun to your head and you’re still able to solve a complex math problem while your life is endangered.

In a much, much more mundane way, mindfulness means paying attention to where you’re drawn to, noticing this, and shifting if appropriate.

When we’re told things like: “Shift your attention”, “Don’t pay attention to this”, “Don’t pay attention to that”, it’s kind of hard to do it, the same way as saying: “Don’t get nervous”, “Don’t pay attention to the wart on this person’s nose”. You know? And then your attention goes there.

So, instead of a negative comment, what Active Pause* is about is: Here is what you direct your attention to. You pay attention to that sensation of holding the ball in your hand.

You’re not trying to avoid thoughts. If you have thoughts, fine! But the point is, you’re going to be directing your attention toward holding the ball. If you have a hard time doing it, then you squeeze a little bit more. Because, as you squeeze more, you’re paying attention to what’s happening in your hand, you’re noticing whether you’re noticing something or not. So you’re experimenting and squeezing a little bit more. This is what it’s about.

* Please note that, at the time the video was made, I was referring to the embodied mindful pause as Active Pause.