Most mindfulness practitioners today experience being mindful as they do activities throughout their day, including their professional work. While “being” and “doing” involve engaging separate cognitive modes, substantial ambiguity actually exists around how these two modes interact. Theorists posit interactions ranging from mutual incompatibility to synergy, suggesting this interaction significantly influences how mindfulness impacts work performance. To understand the interaction of being and doing, 13 individuals with mindfulness practices and jobs were interviewed about their experiences of mindfulness at work. Interviews were analyzed using a grounded theory methodology. Most interviewees reported integrating mindfulness into their work, which coincided with feeling and functioning better. Their experiences fell into two categories of distinct levels and fusion between being and doing modes. All also reported that sometimes doing work interfered with being mindful. This suggests that the interaction of mindfulness and doing cognition is variable, complex, and mediates mindfulness’s impacts on important work variables.

Christopher Lyddy

Case Western Reserve University