Sherlock Holmes/NYT image

Mindfulness, including possible benefits for sobriety, has been a hot topic in recent years.

Many people may associate mindfulness, and even more meditation, with some “spiritual practice,” Buddhism above all.

But, that need not be the case.

A New York Times column offers up, instead — Sherlock Holmes! Yes, the meerschaum pipe, and its smoker’s focus, are a lead-in to mindfulness practices in a modern way, without stereotypes some people may have Read on for more.

Yes, Sherlock Holmes could be the Western picture of mindfulness, Maria Konnikova says:

MEDITATION and mindfulness: the words conjure images of yoga retreats and Buddhist monks. But perhaps they should evoke a very different picture: a man in a deerstalker, puffing away at a curved pipe, Mr. Sherlock Holmes himself. …

His approach to thought captures the very thing that cognitive psychologists mean when they say mindfulness.

Though the concept originates in ancient Buddhist, Hindu and Chinese traditions, when it comes to experimental psychology, mindfulness is less about spirituality and more about concentration: the ability to quiet your mind, focus your attention on the present, and dismiss any distractions that come your way.

Konnikova goes on to note, as many others have, that mindfulness, and meditation that can be based on it, can help with emotional regulation. But, she adds that it can help with multitasking. (In turn, that would lessen frustration, would it not?)

That’s all good benefit for sobriety. Read the full column for more.