“Mindfulness is a kind of consciousness discipline that exists in the interaction of myriad forms of knowledge and inquiry rooted in the creativity and openness of contemporary science.”
Practising mindfulness simply means being aware of the physical and mental state of our body and mind on a daily bases, and looking deeply into what living means to us. It also means practising in basic activities such as walking, breathing, appreciating the simple things surrounding us, and practising self-acceptation and self-love to promote a positive attitude towards life.
In my personal view, mental health is very important, and things like self-awareness and mindfulness practices could help and prevent early depression and anxieties from growing into something serious. Psychologists for example use tools such as MBSR (Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction) and MBCT (Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy) to help increase the well-being of their subject/ subjects. This has been a topic of interest in contemporary science due to its effectiveness and growing interest in the Western world, especially in these population who practice mindfulness without any further spiritual interests.
Mindfulness can be achieved not only through being actively present in a moment of an act, daily appreciation of life itself, but also through meditation practices of simply being. When we meditate we like to set ourself goals for our practice or use mantras like “Om Mani Padme Hum” to help us focus. This can sometimes become disturbed as we tend to let our minds wander off. When this happens it is important to remember that meditation itself is an experience and not a plan with a fixed end goal. When we notice our minds are drifting off course from our meditation practice we mustn’t put our selves down for it, but we must identify what we are thinking of and why we might be unable to focus our attention on our meditative state. The timing of our practice is important, so we need to find the right moment and the right space where we feel relaxes e.g. first thing in the morning before any emotions or situations affect our rested mind. It is also said “What we practise grows stronger” so it is good to continue growing our meditative mindfulness practices through persistence with positivity, self-acceptance and an open heart.
I can agree that Mindfulness has been linked to meditation and Buddhist practices by the general society, but the depth of understanding what role it can take into peoples life is very vague. To me, I can identify myself as someone who is striving to learn more about discipline in forms of meditation, yoga, and sometimes depriving myself of mindless activities such as watching TV. Current society is filled with distractions and false information spread through media such as online Social Platforms, so allocating my time to disciplining myself will help me grow my focus on the important things in life like self-gratitude, growing general knowledge, education and self-development. It is important to have a structure and understanding of the Self, to strive for success and happiness on a daily bases.
The level of focus Buddhist monks perform to reach the enlightenment stage is just amazing and it seems impossible just anyone. They practice mindfulness to further develop their understanding of Duhkha (suffering) which help them structure their practice and life, fulfilling their long-term goals and questions. Buddha spent years disciplining himself to understand suffering and how he can he live with it and be happy. His teachings consist of the 4 pillars of Noble Truths:
- the truth of suffering
- the truth of the cause of suffering
- the truth of the end of suffering
- the truth of the path that leads to the end of suffering
Through meditation and mindfulness practice we can gain an understanding of how suffering affects our lives and happiness so we can move forward.
By understanding where mindfulness originally comes from and why people started practising it, we can start to differentiate between problems of society back then and the problems we are facing now. Questioning things like what were people needs for the practice, what was life like back then, and use this information to reflect on current society, how we live, what obstacles we face, and what Dhukha we experience? What we know is that mindfulness was first practised mainly in Hindu and Buddhist populations as it was the base of understanding the body, mind and the soul in the religious practices. For our generation, mindfulness is something we not only use to practice Self- awareness, discipline and identification of our suffering, but it also helps with focus, learning, stress and anxiety management, performance at work and helps with brain development.
Being more mindful has helped me deal with a lot of sadness and self-doubt in recent years. It might not always be in the form of meditation, but definitely through mindful walking, breathing or running. Sometimes when there was too much for my head to deal with I would normally go away for a day somewhere new to explore. Just purely enjoy being out there on my own in silence, surrounded by nature where there would be no noise, no judgement, no negative emotions, where I can be truly open to myself and reflect on things. After trips like that, I would normally come back ready for any challenges coming my way.
- MBSR effectiveness
- Exploring self‐compassion and empathy in the context of MBSR
- 25 Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Exercises and Courses
- MBCT current research and effectiveness
- Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy in patients with depression: current perspectives
- 28 Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy Resources
- De-Mystifying Mindfulness – Excerpt from Mindfulness program I have gone through
- Mindfulness and the Brain: What Does Research and Neuroscience Say?