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The earliest example of mindfulness?

The earliest example of mindfulness?

On the Granta website is an essay by Casper Henderson called ‘Barely Imagined Beings’ (Book of same name just out). In it he shows An image from the Chauvet cave paintings, which are over 30,000 years old.

 It is a scene of lions about to attack. Casper quotes from David Quammen’s book (Monster of God: The Man-Eating Predator in the Jungles of History and the Mind), who writes that the scene has been painted not with fear but ‘a skilled hand, a calm heart,and an attentive, reverential eye.’

 Is this the earliest evidence for the universal human capacity for mindfulness, through mindful art?

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Otter Country – mindful of nature

Miriam Darlington, a poet, has written a beautiful book called ‘Otter Country – in search of the wild otter’, published just recently by Granta. It is a book to be read slowly, with a chocolate-covered cappucino and lemon tart. Perhaps only a chapter a day as a treat to be savoured and tasted.

I have read just the first three chapters so far but I am captivated. Like all good poets, through awareness, attention, and observation she has got under the skin of the otter. Miriam, along with all poets and nature writers is mindful of nature, and demonstrates that mindfulness is a universal human capacity. Within our mindful brain we all have the capacity for wise present-moment awareness that sees far and true.

Her words melt the padlocks of your mind and suddenly you are free to slip into the book as the otter slips into the river or the sea. Read it and see again.