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Mindful Agency

Unintentional action-- like unintentional thought-- is part of life, but it needn't be taken all that seriously. That's where the idea of agency comes into play-- the ability to act in a skillful, and informed, manner.

As defined in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (I'm sure you have a copy on the shelf)-- and cited by The Mindfulness Initiative in a piece entitled, Mindfulness: Developing Agency in Urgent Times-- the term, "agency" means, "our individual and collective capacity for intentional action".

The key to understanding the concept of agency-- and the key to understanding mindfulness-- is getting one's head around the notion of intentionality (i.e., thinking, or speaking, or acting with a purpose). If we proceed with agency (a sense of purpose), we are responding mindfully-- and that purpose, or agency, can just as easily be directed outward, as it can be directed inward.

What would be an example of outward focused, mindful agency? Well, it could involve intentional thought, advocacy or action related to an important issue that impacts all of us, like climate change. Or social justice. Or voting rights-- even though those concerns might seem to be beyond the ken of mindfulness or meditation, I can assure you, they are not.

Quite to the contrary, those important issues-- though they may be, "of this world"-- are very much fair game, for those of us who practice meditation and seek to cultivate mindfulness. Both mindfulness and meditation are also, "of this world"-- at least, as I conceive them. Hence, the mission of The Mindful Law Group that I founded: Simple, Secular. Scientific. (emphasis added).

As Sylvia Boorstein famously declared. "Don't just do something-- sit there!'. Then speak, or act, skillfully-- with intention.


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