THE BLOG
07/17/2013 05:03 pm ET | Updated Sep 16, 2013

Fishes and Trees: 12 Timely Mindfulness Tips From Albert Einstein

Everybody is a genius. But, if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it'll spend its whole life believing that it is stupid. -- Albert Einstein

Billions of fish try to climb trees every day. Just look around the office, or at those poor souls who so valiantly strive their entire lives in going-absolutely-nowhere work mode.

An astonishing 70 percent of the American workforce is disengaged, according to a recent Gallup poll.

Fishes Trying to Climb Trees

Where does mindfulness enter the picture? First, are you listening to yourself about what's going on? Are you telling yourself the truth?

Trying to climb a tree with fins?

Gotta start right where we are. We learn to do that by slowing down, settling into ourselves, beginning to hear what's actually going on in the universe of our little minds and egos.

Then, notice what's actually going on in the world around us. I feel this. I notice that. I like/don't want to do X. I wish X.

12 Tips on Mindfulness From Albert Einstein

  1. I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious. Use your passionate curiosity! How to begin? Use mindfulness. Settle into yourself, hear those whispered truths.

  • Any man who can drive safely while kissing a pretty girl is simply not giving the kiss the attention it deserves. Are you trying to drive and kiss? Trying to work a "job" and hold your dreams 'till some future whenever? Stop that. Start kissing.
  • Try not to become a man of success. Rather become a man of value.** Fish who are paying attention, being mindful, know that trying to climb a tree is a waste of a life. Smart fish go for the water, that place from which one happily thrives.
  • The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious -- the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. Is there any room in your life for the mysterious? If not... bummer. That's the space wherein fish understand that trying to climb a tree is pretty stupid. Mindful awareness can help you see the mysterious body of water that's right in front of you.
  • Any fool can know. The point is to understand. Any fool fish intellectually knows that climbing a tree just isn't going to happen. But. To understand the ramifications, and make a different choice, well... that's where mindfulness comes in handy.
  • In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity. Cultivating a mindful awareness practice helps us manage those inevitable difficult times. It helps us get in the water rather than trying to climb trees.
  • Few are those who see with their own eyes and feel with their own hearts. If all the fish around us are crazily trying to climb, it's more challenging to see with our own eyes that it's a no-win effort. Feeling our way with our hearts is the minority position. (70 percent disengagement in the workforce?) Mindfulness goes a long way toward giving us the courage to do what needs doin'.
  • The measure of intelligence is the ability to change. Yes, you'll need to do something different in order to swim in your own little pond (or big fat ocean). What can help you make the necessary changes? That's right... mindfulness.
  • The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift. Mindful awareness helps develop the ability to drop into the gift of your intuitive mind. If more fish cultivated this practice... well, just imagine the results!
  • I believe in intuitions and inspirations...I sometimes FEEL that I am right. I do not KNOW that I am. Most fish aren't stopping long enough to know how they feel about anything. Mindfulness helps us feel into what is true. When we understand that, we can begin making better choices for ourselves and the people we love.
  • Imagination is the highest form of research. Imagination? Feeling into your heart? Intuition? None of these concepts is high on the list of most organizations. What might be wrong with this picture? Start asking yourself what you need to know. Do it through mindful awareness. Align with Einstein.
  • The tragedy of life is what dies inside a man while he lives. How much of you is dying inside while you're madly trying to climb a tree when you really belong in the water? Develop your mindfulness muscle. Start living.
  • Mindfulness isn't a cure-all for everything on the planet. But it sure does help. With almost everything.

    It's Alchemical and Experiential

    There's an alchemical process that takes place when one cultivates a regular practice of paying attention to the reality that lies below the surface of what appears to be normal.

    It's experiential. Not intellectual. You can't grok it by thinking about it. Until you try it, really give it a go, you're still a fish trying to climb that tree.

    **We know he meant women, too. Even Einstein made mistakes.

    For more by Melanie Harth, Ph.D., LMHC, click here.

    For more on mindfulness, click here.