The Wake Up US Tour wrapped yesterday, after a free mindfulness workshop at Columbia University for people between the ages of 17 and 35. For the past two weeks, students of Thich Nhat Hanh have been bringing the message of mindfulness to young Americans on the East Coast, teaching them simple but powerful techniques such as breathing and walking meditation. (Thanks to Well+GoodNYC for a nice description of the tour).
I wish I’d been formally introduced to mindfulness earlier in life. I’d been stressed out and anxious for years before I attended a course and started a formal practice.
There’s somewhat of a trend encouraging us to be more mindful sooner, and I hope it takes off. Last month, Ed Halliwell wrote about the Mindfulness In Schools Conference in the UK. It’s worth taking the time to read his analysis, “Mindfulness and Youth: To dot-be or not to dot-be?” He explains the progressive program, and highlights the challenges related to, essentially, learning to focus and learn in an age of “continuous partial attention.” A state, he writes, where “the constant pressure to react to a flood of stimuli goes beyond the reasonable capacities of our brains.”