Mindfulness and the art of Living
Writing about mindfulness is easy as compared to writing about the art of living. When it comes to mindfulness there is a large body of information and traditional ideas. What the best teachers have to say about mindfulness is in large part in agreement with what other solid teachers have to say. On top of this, the more your practice develops the more it validates what the experts told you in the first place.
Not so when it comes to the art of living. Frankly, it is kind of a messy free-for-all. There are many different leading philosophers and traditions that don’t necessarily agree with one another. The origins of Greek philosophy, where the art of living was of central concern, the different schools of thought argued regularly. Furthermore, there is no practice that validates the teachings as a whole. It goes this way: you read someone with good ideas, you follow the ideas and guidelines that make sense to you, and still life goes well or not.
At the same time, even though speaking about or writing about the art of living is fraught with intellectual challenges, I find nothing more interesting or important to think about. So what you get here are my best synthesized and organized ideas. They come from things I have read, my personal reflections, my work with my psychology patients, and my own efforts at living well.
Here I will limit myself to ideas regarding the art of living that stay close to the understanding and practice of mindfulness. I must begin very broadly and philosophically to set the stage and then gradually narrow down to more applied and practical ideas.