In my book Engaged Mindfulness I outline ‘the three C’s of Engaged Mindfulness’. These are curiosity, courage & care. These three qualities make the quality of our mindfulness more dynamic and pro-active. They actively shape the way in which we encounter our life in each moment, encouraging us to assert ourselves benevolently in the way we respond to our every-day challenges. What I want to do here is to outline how each of these three C’s can be applied in a practical way, enabling you to be confident enough in your understanding to start practising yourself! Each of the three C’s will be contrasted with an unhelpful mental attitude that we, often unconsciously, approach our life with. With this in mind, lets proceed…

  1. Replacing indifference & jadedness with curiosity – It’s all too easy to fall into a habituated way of experiencing our world, where we cease to do our everyday activities with awareness. We become indifferent to ourself & others around us. We cease to feel alive. Indifference & a sense of mental fatigue clouds our capacity to see the opportunity for small joys and connection to life in the moment. Today I went to my barber for a haircut. I always go to this man for my hair because he cuts with attention to detail. I watched him with curiosity and appreciation as he cut my hair. I enjoyed the nuances of our ‘guy talk’ as he cut. It made the visit a life affirming experience which I valued and enjoyed. The value I derived was due in large part to my sense of curiosity.
  1. Engaging with courage instead of fear & insecurity – To a greater or lesser degree fear and insecurity are ever present in our lives. If we don’t watch out, these two can end up defining our behaviours and experiences, preventing us from turning up in our life each day and acting in a way that truly represents our values. To bring mindful courage to our life means to be aware of our fear or insecurities. In spite of them, even perhaps because of them, courage chooses to think, act and speak in ways that truly represent our values and creative self-expression. Recently there have been a few inner fears for me as my daughter moves from primary to secondary school; which school will be best? What if we choose the wrong one and she suffers? Deliberately bringing courage to my approach to school choices with her has made the process more enjoyable as well as making me more decisive and effective in my responsibilities (as I understand them).
  1. Asserting care instead of intolerance & harshness – When we are tired, when the world has done us a few ‘wrongs’, when we make a mistake, it can be easy to judge harshly and quickly. It can be easy to become intolerant of our own or other’s imperfections. It can feel safer not to care. To assert mindful care in the moment is to learn to leverage on the strength, intelligence and ‘soft power’ of remaining connected to our heart, even when superficially it seems easier to make a snap judgment and withhold our human affection. As I go through the ups and downs of my own life journey, one of the things I have come to value the most from myself is simply a gentle, consistent care and affection. I have learned to extend this to myself even when I am tired, under pressure or have made a mistake. This has made my own experience of myself far more enjoyable, as well as making it easier and more natural to extend that kindness and care to others.

As a mindfulness exercise, try sitting and watching your mind, with one of the three C’s. See how your world, your experience of the present moment and of yourself changes when you encounter them mindfully with curiosity, courage and/or care!

By Toby Ouvry,, Contributor of //LIVE SIMPLY//