Unwrapping Mindfulness & The Power of Kindness

To be in the present with someone else is a gift. The gift of attention is perhaps the most precious and envied of all, even though we do not always realize it. To be there. To be totally available. This is what we secretly hope other people will do for us, and we know it will give us healing relief, space, energy.
Photo by Gabrielle Mark

Photo by Gabrielle Mark

What a beautiful, eye-opening quote written by Piero Ferrucci in his book, The Power of Kindness: The Unexpected Benefits of Leading a Compassionate Life.

Well, if being mindful of someone’s presence is a gift, let’s unwrap it.

We often become settled in a routine because humans are attracted to comfort. However, when we’re comfortable, we forget to appreciate the details. As a college freshman who has just reached a point of content after all the adapting, I relate to this a lot. I’ve been sticking with the same friends so I wouldn't have to face any social anxiety.

However, an assignment for a class I’m currently taking, called “Philosophy of Helping,” really opened my eyes to the benefits of being mindful and open to new activities. It wasn’t a typical homework assignment; we were asked to ride the city bus with one or more of our classmates and write a paper about our experience.

I have one close friend in the class with me, and honestly, we were all dreading the idea of riding public transportation with people we barely knew. The thought of it screamed, “AWKWARD”. In hindsight, I am so appreciative of the experience because although riding public transportation is time consuming, it really gives people time to reflect.

I remembered how taking the bus in Hawai’i familiarized me with my home; the automated voice announcements etched street names and local landmarks into my brain at every stop. I can’t say the same about my new home in Orange County. I realized how fortunate I am that my friends and I can hop in a car whenever we want to and use a GPS to go straight to our location.

By the end of our bus-riding excursion, my group couldn’t help but relate ourselves to The Breakfast Club. We were four girls and one guy thrown together to complete a task but ended up putting our differences aside as we became aware that being with each other is a blessing.

Photo by Gabrielle Mark

Photo by Gabrielle Mark

  • Mindfulness is eye contact.
  • Mindfulness is active listening.
  • Mindfulness is attentiveness.

From a Taoist story to an African story, Ferrucci brings to light that “inattention is cold and hard. Attention is warm and caring. It makes our best possibilities flower”. Through being mindful, we can learn to be the best versions of ourselves.

Readers are asked to imagine interacting with someone close to them. If that other person is not giving you their undivided attention, how would it make you feel? Probably hurt and unimportant.

What if from this present moment forward, each of us did our best to become a more mindful person and began to focus more on being present with people, treating them with kindness? What would the world be like? And what would our own individual worlds be like? We have the potential to fill the world with more meaningful relationships.

Think of your best moments with others: I am sure you were right there, fully attentive.
Photo by Gabrielle Mark

Photo by Gabrielle Mark

A very interesting lesson the book also mentions is that mindful people are luckier since they are able to “see not only what they are looking for, but also what they are not looking for” (p. 98). Those who embrace the present and greet everyday with an open-mind notice more opportunities.

Gifts should never be taken for granted, so go ahead “and meet the present moment without preconceived notions, with bare attention and in a state of pure openness” (p. 100). I think you’d be surprise with what you’ll discover and who knows? Maybe it’ll open a couple lucky doors for you too.

I encourage you to “be mindful and you will be alive” (p. 98).