Mindfulness is defined as:
… the psychological process of bringing one's attention to the internal and external experiences occurring in the present moment, which can be developed through the practice of meditation and other training. The term "mindfulness" is a translation of the Pali-term sati, which is a significant element of some Buddhist traditions. The recent popularity of mindfulness in the West is generally considered to have been initiated by Jon Kabat-Zinn.[8
A slightly different definition comes from Psychology Today:
Mindfulness is a state of active, open attention on the present. When you're mindful, you observe your thoughts and feelings from a distance, without judging them good or bad. Instead of letting your life pass you by, mindfulness means living in the moment and awakening to experience.
Mindfulness has become a very popular notion in the business world. Even Harvard Business Review is publishing articles on the topic. Rather than brushing it off as just another “touchy feely” fad, organizational leaders, overwhelmed with trying to do more and achieve more with less resources in a rapidly changing world, are turning to anything that will help them reduce stress, balance all of the pressures in their lives, and feel better about what they are doing.
The question they are asking themselves is, “How do I achieve mindfulness in the course of my day-to-day life, without taking a year off at an ashram?”
Robert Pasick, in his new book, Self-Aware: A Guide for Success in Work and Life, provides answers. This very practical book, inspired by Pasick's work with business students and clients, has application to any organizational leader, and any adult for that matter. It is about achieving self-awareness and what that means for one’s career and relationships and the work one must do to achieve that level of self-awareness.
If you are not ready to make significant changes in your life, my advice is not to read this book. Keep this book in a safe space for another day. My students often report that through the processes in this workbook, they have switched from one career path to another.
However, this book is not only about making career choices. It is also a guide for living fully in relationships, whether at work, at home, or in the community. Relationships are key to receiving feedback, reflecting on one’s strengths and areas for improvement, and experiencing a meaningful life.
If followed, you will embark on a process designed to increase your self-awareness. You will be asked to read, reflect, answer questions, and engage actively in a series of exercises. Some exercises will require the participation of significant people in your life.
In some ways this is a deeply personal book as Pasick tells us his own story about development as a man, a psychologist, a healer, a son, husband and father, giving us examples of his experience of mindfulness so that we can learn from him as we read stories about what he has learned from family, friends, students, and clients.
“Self-Aware” has the tools you need for getting feedback from others and using that feedback for self-reflection on mind, body, and spirit. Pasick doesn’t promise you an easy journey but he does provide what you need to make the trip stimulating and fulfilling.