Thursday, December 04, 2014


Having been looking at lots of material recently on the subjects of Mindfulness and Emotional Intelligence, the penny suddenly dropped...

All this stuff about self-development and wellbeing - which is said to reduce stress, improve cognitive function, generally making you a more fulfilled person - can all be boiled down to one simple principle...


And in a sense, if you can do this - or at least aspire to it - everything else follows.

Simple, but not necessarily easy.

Mindfulness is largely about being aware of the movements of mind. And commonly, when you interrupt normal consciousness to look at what's going on, you'll find plenty of influences taking you away and back to the noise and activity that is so familiar and strangely comfortable.

Emotional Intelligence is about having more choice in our response to circumstances and people by interrupting our habitual reactions to them. And this is facilitated through awareness and observation. Try it over Christmas when over-exposure to the extended family starts to get to you. Simple but not always easy.

So in my mind at least, Mindfulness and Emotional Intelligence are fundamentally approaches for knowing ourselves. And that is all there is to it.

Let's see what better minds than mine have to say on this subject:

Lao Tzu: Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom.

Robert Bland: If men would search diligently their own minds, and examine minutely their thoughts and actions, they would be more cautious in censuring the conduct of others, as they would find in themselves abundantly sufficient cause for reproof.

Adam Smith: The first thing you have to know is yourself. A man who knows himself can step outside himself and watch his own reactions like an observer.

And there are plenty more where these came from.

So although these techniques and approaches may seen new and radical, the essence of what they are about is as old as the hills.

I don't know about you, but I find that quite comforting.