Mindfulness is an ancient Buddhist practice which has profound relevance for our present-day lives.
This relevance has nothing to do with Buddhism as a religious practice or with becoming a Buddhist.
it is about waking up and living in harmony with oneself and with the world.
It has to do with examining our own self, with questioning our view of the world.
It has to do with our place in the world by cultivation of some appreciation for the fullness of each moment we are alive.
In a nutshell, it has to do with being in touch.
From the Buddhist perspective, our ordinary waking state of consciousness is seen as being severely limited and limiting. It resembles in many ways, an extended dream rather than wakefulness.
Meditation helps to wake up from this monotonous robotic & mechanical life. It removes unconsciousness, thereby making it possible for man to live his or her lives with access to the full spectrum of that individual conscious and unconscious possibilities.
Sages, yogis, and Zen masters have been exploring this territory systematically for thousands of years.
In the process they have learned something which may now be profoundly beneficial in the whole world to counterbalance our cultural orientation toward controlling and subduing nature rather than honoring that we are an intimate part of it.
Their collective experience suggests that by investigating inward your own nature as beings and, particularly, the nature of our own minds through careful and systematic self observation, we may be able to live lives of greater satisfaction, harmony, and wisdom.
It also offers a view of the world which is complementary to the predominantly reductionist and materialistic one currently dominating Western thought and institutions.
But this view is neither particularly “Eastern” nor mystical.
Thoreau saw the same problem with our ordinary mind state in New England in 1846 and wrote with great passion about its unfortunate consequences.
Mindfulness has been called the heart of Buddhist meditation. Fundamentally, mindfulness is a simple concept. The Power of mindfulness lies in the practice and its applications.
Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally.
This kind of attention nurtures greater awareness, clarity, and acceptance of present-moment reality.
It wakes us up to the fact that our lives unfold only in moments. If we are not fully present for many of those moments, we may not only miss what is most valuable in our lives.
We will also fail to realize the richness and the depth of our possibilities for growth and transformation.
A diminished awareness of the present moment inevitably creates other problems for us. Often it creates deep-seated fears and insecurities.
These problems tend to build over time if they are not attended to and can eventually leave us feeling stuck and out of touch.
Over time, we may lose confidence in our ability to redirect our energies in ways that would lead to greater satisfaction and happiness, perhaps even to greater health.
Mindfulness provides a simple but powerful route for getting ourselves unstuck, back into touch with our own wisdom and vitality.
It is a way to take charge of the direction and quality of our own lives.
That would include our relationships within the family, our relationship to work and to the larger world and planet, and most fundamentally, our relationship with our-self as a person.
Root of Mindfulness
The key to this path, which lies at the root of Buddhism, Taoism, and yoga, and also in the works of people like Emerson, Thoreau, and Whitman, and in Native American wisdom.
It is an appreciation for the present moment and the cultivation of an intimate relationship with it through a continual attending to it with care and discernment.
It is the direct opposite of taking life for granted.
The habit of ignoring our present moments in favor of others yet to come leads directly to a pervasive lack of awareness of the web of life in which we are embedded.
This includes a lack of awareness and understanding of our own mind and how it influences our perceptions & our actions.
It severely limits our perspective on what it means to be a person.
Each of us are connected to each other and to the world around us.
Mindfulness is an attempt to appreciate the deep mystery of being alive and to acknowledge being vitally connected to all that exists.
It is religiously agnostic, except that it generates those inquiries which traditionally has been in the realms of religion.
The art of mindfulness is that the most important point is to be yourself and not try to become anything that you are not already.
It has to do with waking up and seeing things as they are. It is simply a practical way
to be more in touch with the fullness of your being through a systematic process of self-observation, self-inquiry, and mindful action.
Another way to think of it would be “heartfulness.”
“Every time we become aware of a thought, as opposed to being lost in a thought, we experience that opening of the mind.”
– Joseph Goldstein