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Mindfulness as a Way to Remember

White Tulips and SoilIt is Spring again. The earth is like a child that knows poems by heart.”

– Rainer Maria Rilke

The term mindfulness is a somewhat awkward translation of the Pali word sati. While scholars debate its full and intended meaning, sati literally translates as remembering, or memory. It’s sometimes understood as a form of presence in which we remember that our inner experience exists within a context of an outer, interconnected world.

The notion of remembering is also referenced in regard to our fundamental nature. From a Buddhist perspective (in which mindfulness is rooted), it is believed we all have an innate goodness. This is not something though that all of us consistently feel, or perhaps even believe. As such, mindfulness as a practice can be understood as a way of getting back in touch with (remembering) our innate capacity for things like kindness, clear seeing and wisdom. Rather than asking us to fix ourselves or to become a different, improved-upon person, mindfulness invites us to rediscover who we really are, to know our inherent goodness.

I’m often re-reminded of these things in Spring. Witnessing fresh shoots and blooms emerge helps me remember me how that which is dormant can still have vital presence – can still, as Rilke might put it, give rise to something like a poem.

Is there anything within in you whose time has come to bloom? What helps you remember who you are? To know by heart, your heart? I always love hearing from folks, you can get in touch with me here.

In loving kindness,


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