A definition of Mindfulness:
“Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way, on purpose, in the present moment, and non- judgementally”. Jon Kabat Zinn (founder of MBSR)
Roots of Mindfulness
Mindfulness is considered the heart of Buddhist meditation and has been practiced for centuries by Buddhists all over the world, with a strong focus on contemplation it is similiar to most major religions including Christianity, Judaism, Sufism and Hinduism. Buddhism appears to have engaged science the most and like science has encouraged people to take nothing on faith alone and does not require a belief in God. Buddhism also has a detailed model of the mind that translates into psychology and neurology and therefore assists in the developing knowledge of the brain alongside the latest scientific tools as MRI scans.
With a growing interest in the contemplative traditions that have been exploring the mind and therefore the brain, an understanding has developed as to how the brain and the practice of contemplative pursuits can cultivate qualities such as happiness, inner strength, peace and clarity. Using MRI scans on Buddhist monks in meditative states has demonstrated the beneficial effects of enhanced well- being for mind and body.
However, mindfulness practice is secular and does not attend to any doctrine or dogma. It is a practice of the mind and body, useful for anyone who chooses to be curious enough to give it a moment or two or three or four and so on……. Spend some time and experience the difference.
Mindlessness – It might be happening now!
We have become accustomed to filling our time with running from one object of occupation to the next, busy here and there and still feeling unfulfilled and dissatisfied with all the accomplishments and achievements that we have gained. We continue distracting ourselves avoiding feelings, escaping from ourselves, blocking and deluding with the internal chatter so often in conflict it’s no wonder we feel stressed, anxious and confused.
We can spend so much time living in our heads constantly thinking, thoughts taking us away from the moment, churning over memories, imagining the future from one minute to the next blinded often to what is actually in front of our very eyes, let alone the feeling in our own bodies.
We can be so caught up in the web of our own existence that we may not even notice this. Our auto – pilot is full steam ahead, all pistons firing, and thus we’re not fully conscious until something happens to wake us. Being in auto pilot is nothing new, it happens to all of us often and it is our lifestyles that promote it, in fact encourage it in so many ways. There is always something new to learn, more money to earn, more gossip to catch up on more judgments to make of others and ourselves.
We create self -imposed rules, regulations which we follow blindly, detrimental harmful conditions to live by, setting up habits and addictions, unaware that we can shift and make changes when -ever we please. It is as if we are in a dream state going through life, from one mode of doing to another going with our own formulated patterns conditioned and set in auto pilot.
There is light at the end of the tunnel. Stop, pause take a moment.
By bringing awareness to this and what we are experiencing through our senses rather than what we are thinking, we can step out of auto pilot. Doing so allows us to notice ourselves and the world around us, be present with what is here, be aware of the company we are in or the moments of silence, or laughter, joy, peace and quiet. Connect with ourselves, making conscious choices from a place of clarity and stability, feeling confident, with a sense of well- being and contentment. Like the idea of that? I did and I haven’t looked back since.
Try this….. Next time you make yourself a hot drink, sit and place your attention on the cup in your hands, the feel of the object, the temperature, texture, the weight as you lift it to your lips, the taste, the wetness, anything that catches your senses and the response you have in sensations and thoughts. In other words take a moment to have a moment.
Which person is paying attention to simply drinking tea?
Courses & Sessions
- Mindfulness Based Compassionate Living (for those who have already attended the MBSR) In a group or 1:1
- Mindful Parenting – working with parents and children