When I first started the readings for this prompt and mindfulness was defined as “the simple act of drawing novel distinctions,” I thought “humans do this naturally; why would we need to change how we educate based on this?” I have been in school for 19 years straight, and I have always memorized the material required of me but have still been able to creatively and critically analyze, deconstruct, and expand on that material. I have four nieces and nephews (the oldest 17 and the youngest 2), and I see those same abilities reflect in all of them. Then the reading made this point: “When we are in a state of mindlessness, we act like automatons who have been programmed to act according to the sense our behavior made in the past, rather than the present…When we believe we know something well, we tend to view it mindlessly.”
This made me think of the number of times I have completely overlooked the simplest or most unique answer to a problem by not thinking past the instructions given to me. The question, parameters, or context can influence my answer or plan of action by putting a box around the possibilities I feel are available to me. When there is uncertainty or ambiguity, the mind has the power of infinite possibilities.
There are still times when more “ridged” learning is unavoidable and/or appropriate. However, this should not be the standard. While thinking mindfully is human nature, there are a number of not-so-obvious limitations being places around our nature that are completely avoidable.