"Begin and Continue."

"A journey of a thousand miles
begins with a single step."

Chinese Proverb

Christmas Humphreys

"The Road has two rules only:
begin and continue."

Christmas Humphreys

Mindfulness as Actively Drawing Novel Distinctions


"Mindfulness is . . . . the process of drawing novel distinctions . . . . Actively drawing these distinctions keeps us situated in the present.

"It also makes us more aware of the context and perspective of our actions than if we rely upon distinctions and categories drawn in the past. Under this latter situation, rules and routines are more likely to govern our behavior.

"The process of drawing novel distinctions can lead to a number of diverse consequences, including:

  • greater sensitivity to one's environment
  • more openness to new information
  • the creation of new categories for structuring perception
  • enhanced awareness of multiple perspectives in problem-solving.

"The subjective 'feel' of mindfulness is that of a heightened state of involvement and wakefulness of being in the present.

"This subjective state is the inherent common thread that ties together the extremely diverse observable consequences for the viewer.

"Mindfulness is not a cold cognitive process. When one is actively drawing novel distinctions, the whole individual is involved."

Ellen Langer

Ellen J. Langer and Mihnea Moldoveanu

"The Construct of Mindfulness" in Journal of Social Issues, Vol. 56, No. 1 (2000), pp. 1-9.

Mindfulness as Self-Observation


"Mindfulness ensures that whatever you do will be done to the best of your ability. You can develop mindfulness by concentrating your clarity and intelligence on your work.

"Observe how you go about doing a simple task.

  • How do you begin?
  • How do you proceed?
  • Do you actually understand what you want to do?
  • Are you looking ahead to where this task will take you?

"Consider the effects of your actions from a broad perspective while observing every detail of what you do. Are you aware of the effects of each step you perform?

"As you develop mindfulness, you become able to observe how lapses in awareness affect the rhythm and tone of your work.

"When you work with mindfulness,

  • your movements are fluid and graceful,
  • your thoughts clear and well-organized, 
  • your efforts effective.

"Because you are deeply in tune with each stage of your work and the consequences of each action, you are even able to predict your results.

"You become aware of the motivation underlying your actions and learn to catch any tendency to forget or make mistakes.

"As you grow skilled at being mindful, you can penetrate to a profound understanding of yourself and your actions. "

Tarthang Tulku

Tarthang Tulku

From "Inner Freedom," pp. 7-8 in Skillful Means: Patterns for Success.

Mindfulness as Present Moment Appreciation

"Mindfulness means:

  • Creating new categories
  • Welcoming new information
  • Tolerating more than one view

"It also means:

  • Letting go of the demand for categories
  • Disassociating from the craving for information
  • Detaching from the need for a point of view

"Mindfulness means present moment appreciation of our inner states of being and the world around us."

Claude, Fall Foliage, Persimmon Tree

Claude Whitmyer

From "Using Mindfulness to Find Meaningful Work," p. 252 in Mindfulness and Meaningful Work: Explorations in Right Livelihood.

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