Guess what? I invented a new word. Nowfulness. Mindfulness is gone, old hat, sooo 2011. It’s like MySpace, George Bush, or having a phone that’s, well, just a phone. It’s done. Ok maybe I’m going too far, mindfulness is still a good word as far as words go, but I’m taking a real shine to Nowfulness, let’s look a bit deeper…

Actually let’s not. What I like about the world nowfulness is that it’s simple, superficial, it doesn’t denote a whole lot of distracting theory or philosophy, it’s just now. Fill yourself (or your attention) with now. Now…full…ness, the fullness of now. The more I type, the more I like. You see, mindfulness is slowly becoming corrupted, complicated and attacked in a global game of death-by-buzzwords. It’s being hijacked by well meaning people who have never sat facing a wall, people who are excited by the concepts, but haven’t practiced enough yet. You see, when you practice, those concepts drop away, the theoretical mind stuff loses its importance as you realise that noticing your breath now, in this instant, is enough. Then, thought becomes unnecessary as far as mindfulness, or nowfulness, is concerned. Thought becomes like a game that doesn’t matter, a bit of fun. But before reaching this point, the mind is still in charge, still trying to maintain its power, so mindfulness teaching gets filtered through the layers of mental complexity to reach unnecessary levels of confusion and craziness. Ever seen a book on mindfulness over 200 pages? Yep, that’s what I’m talking about. There’s nothing wrong with it, but if you want to get down to business and experience change as soon as possible, you need the simplest method, a way that takes you straight to the guts, to the practice itself. This is why I love Zen, because it takes the teaching of the Buddha, which has been philosophised into hundreds of thousands of books, teachings, meditations and rituals, and condenses it to a phrase like:

“Sit steadfastly in nowfulness and think not-thinking. How do you think not-thinking? Non-thinking. This is the art of meditation.”

Zen Master Dogen.

I added nowfulness in place of the word Samadhi, which means the same thing, but what does Dogen mean by non-thinking? Just let thought drift past without being caught by it, just observe it, that’s all. Just be present, be alert, sit up straight, and watch the thinking mind do what it does. This paragraph is quite enough teaching, from then all that is needed is to keep practising, which is nothing special, nothing complicated. It is nothing but to take time to pay close attention to the breath, the body and the mind without getting caught up in anything, or rather, to keep returning when you realise you are lost.

Just this, being full of this now, is all we need to do.

4 Responses to Nowfulness

  1. Carolyn Bourke says September 3, 2012

    oh I love it! Im excited by how much I love it :-) and ur wit!

  2. Carolyn Bourke says September 4, 2012

    …sooo 2011… ;-) Love th wit!

  3. Carolyn Bourke says September 4, 2012

    Thoughts are just a game, they dont have an power over me. Im intent on some cool analogy to make that sink in, like, maybe the thoughts are an old teacher whose retired and taught me all I needed and now we just kick around together for fun… ;-)
    I challenge you to come up with a more ‘nowfulness’ analogy ;-)

  4. Deb says September 7, 2012

    Good one Oli. Mindfulness claims to go beyond the mind but the word says otherwise. Mind-full-ness = full of the mind.

    The word nowfulness appears in a 2007 book by Todd Kassner and Robert C. Robbins called Allow Yourself to Simply Awaken, page 37. “Mindfulness is Nowfulness…” A googlesearch will find it mentioned also in some online meditations. Claim the word if it fits. To me it’s just ‘Nowness’.

    Enjoying your book very much. Thank you.

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