Yes, the legislature. A recent New Yorker article highlighted Representative Tim Ryan’s experience bringing mindfulness to the hill and to policy following a retreat with Jon Kabbat-Zinn. What does this growing ubiquitousness mean? Is this a sociological point? For example, the Type A, highly driven, personality cultivated in the United States may be giving way to a mind set focused more on process than outcome. If so, there is greater reinforcement to slowing down and remaining in the moment.
Has the status of mindfulness dropped from the guru on the mountain peak to the masses at the base? Is this a bad thing? One's ego might be stroked when alone with a guru on the crest, responding to unanswerable riddles. I know mine would be. Yet say an entire community is joined in the practice of living mindfully, living with intention. I would rather accidentally cut off a driver who practices mindfulness (and loving/kindness) and thus doesn’t proceed to run me off the road from anger.
I would argue that no behavior is truly automatic. Each day is broken into a series of choice points. A life of intention allows you to pause before action to determine the reasons for engaging in each step. While you don’t control experiencing a particular emotion such as anger, you control how it is expressed. While you might not control the experience of pain, you control your relationship with the pain. A life of intention deepens the life experience. It can be important whether you are actively working to remove an unwanted behavior or you want to be more alert to reasons underlying your decisions.
Say you do have the intention to remove an unhealthy behavior. You may become more and more frustrated as you continue to engage despite recognizing the negative long-term impact. The capitulation may be subtle: the reason for engaging the particular behavior might not be readily apparent. Perhaps the likelihood of triggers was increased such as going to a bar when trying not to drink, buying donuts when susceptible to overeating, or hanging out with friends where the unwanted behavior, like not flossing, is the norm. Perhaps you are struck with an uncomfortable level of emotion, positive or negative, like joy or sadness, that is unsettling. Perhaps you seek the more immediate relief that comes from engaging in the behavior because the consequences (including shame) are delayed.
Regardless of whether each choice has only benign paths or include negative outcomes, approach each choice point with a consciousness, a mindfulness. The behavior may seem automatic, your mood may feel out of your control, the situation of life may appear daunting, still, apply intention. In designing a life compass, under “Forms” on my website, you list what you value under a variety of categories such as Family, Work, Recreation, and Self. This will help guide your choices towards what you value and you will experience greater agency in your life.
Mindfulness helps improve your attunement with your sensations, thoughts, and feelings and, in so doing, allows for conscious engagement in the world. Mindfulness can appear with uncommon and common activities. You might be meditating and mindfully focused on breath. You might be walking and slow down each step to mindfully experience the process, letting go of the outcome of destination. To do my part in bringing mindfulness down from the mountaintop, there is a "Raisin exercise" under Forms on my website, that will introduce you to mindfulness. This exercise deconstructs an automatic activity most often engaged by the handful: consumption of the raisin.