“Parenting is a mirror in which we get to see the best of ourselves, and the worst; the richest moments of living, and the most frightening.” (I didn’t say that, why would I?)

If a child is going to become an emotionally successful adult he/she needs to begin to learn to pay attention. That’s why mindfulness in schools is not just a great idea but a necessity or this world of distractions will swamp his little brain.

We learn to pay attention at the beginnings of our lives then we just forget it later on, because we get too muddled by all the choices. Baby gets riveted on an object until he/she finally comprehends the name, the colour, the shape and then moves onto the next object. He/she instinctively pays attention while relentlessly repeating, “Wa” and pointing to a car. Luckily, mommy doesn’t jump down his throat giving him, “Shut up already, you got it all wrong.” She corrects baby and squeals with delight when he finally gets a word right. With each correct word he get a hit of dopamine so he’s motivated to learn the next word. So, attention is created by reward and the reward is coming into the present and coming into the present is always a present.

It’s the greatest feeling I know, that sense that I’m completely tuned in (which is rare) rather than my usual itch of dissatisfaction, which I try to scratch by finding stimulation; jumping from one thing to the next. Attention is a skill we learn as babies and later lose. A baby, like an animal, has the ability to be completely present with his feelings whether they’re happy, sad, scared or angry. By the time you’re an adult you’re usually covering up those feelings, feeling guilty for having them or neatly tucking them into your pants so they never show up in public again.

The main objective of mindfulness is to ‘pay attention,’ in the moment, without judgment. Not only to pay attention in the moment to objects outside but also to be able to focus on what’s going on in your mind. You can run, you can hide from those thoughts and feelings but they’re still down there churning away.You may believe you’re having a hunky-dory time, with the perfect kids/wife/teeth but someday if you don’t look into the darkness in the basement of your brain, it will erupt spewing lava everywhere.

I met a man who I believed was at the pinnacle of success, someone in the Fortune Five Hundred, who sat on at least 50 prestigious boards; he ended up having a heart attack in his car and when his wife went to visit him in the hospital, she found a woman tending him with a sponge… She turned out to be his other wife.

This type of person, who believes himself to be above us mortals that and way above the law, can defy morality. He’s completely unconscious of his behaviour; usually these people are brought to their knees by their own hubris. Had he learned to pay attention he would have become conscious and this type of thing wouldn’t have happened to him. He would have been aware that some day the two wives would meet and probably, if he was conscious, he might not have married two women.

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