What I have learned about Mindfulness…
Recently I was asked to put together a short video on Mindfulness, whilst I had my own understanding on what mindfulness is, I wanted to research what some of the leading experts, aside from Jon Kabat-Zinn, had to say about this incredible practise and get their views on what it means.What I have learned about Mindfulness…
Here are some of the examples:
“The quality or state of being conscious or aware of something.” – Oxford Dictionary
“Mindfulness meditation has three overarching purposes: knowing the mind; training the mind; and freeing the mind.” Gill Fronsdal
” Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us” – Mindful.org
“Mindfulness is a conscious direction of our awareness” – Rinpoche
“It means waking up out of autopilot and ‘taking the steering wheel’ of our attention again.” – Mrs Mindfulness
“It is to know the mind and to be aware of its capacity. To pay attention in a very particular way to the mind and the body as well as the experience of daily life” Rinpoche
“Mindfulness is about observation without criticism; being compassionate with yourself” – Dr Danny Penman
“The quality and power of mind that is aware of what is happening, without judgement and without interference.” Joseph Goldstein
“Mindfulness is a state of active, open attention on the present” – Psychology Today
“Mindfulness means maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment.” – Leah Weiss, LCSW, Ph.D
What I quickly began to realise is that Mindfulness does not have 1 specific definition. All are different, even if they have the same connotation. As the Buddha would say, not the same, not different.
Mindfulness is not a definition, it is a way of being. It is an experience, when you practise and begin to understand, even in a small way, ‘Mindfulness’, you begin to realise that the experience is unique and different to us all. It helped me in appreciating why all of these incredible practitioners find it so hard to agree on one key statement.
Of them all, it was a Tibetan Lama that had my most favourite definition. He said “Mindfulness is just another word for life”.
Why? Mindfulness is just that. Mindfulness drags you back into life. You learn to turn into it, accept it, love it, rather than shy away from it. It motivates you, it gives you strength to be with who you are in each moment, good, bad and frustrating. It teaches you an open appreciation of all that is in your life in that moment, and on most occasions, this experience is incredible.
It teaches you about your uniqueness, and that this isn’t a flaw, it is part of the grand design of who we are. Billions of incredible humans, currently doing, with the ultimate goal of being. Being who we are, knowing who we are, being right in this moment, and this moment, and this moment.
Listening to an incredible talk by and Indian Sage called Papaji at Satsang, he was questioned on how to approach this human exisitence, how to manage the irrational and erratic emotional body and mind…
He said simply, just be quiet, sit, just be quiet, just for a moment, you deserve this. Look behind the thought, look behind the feeling, find there is infinite space. Within that space is freedom, never let that go. If you can hold onto the thought of freedom, what else can touch it? You can’t have the thought of freedom and have any other thought. So when you feel lost in thought, just think of freedom, and then freedom from the thought will arise.
What is my mindfulness definition, mindfulness = space. Space to think, space to react, space to be involved, space to be compassionate, space to love, space to be angry, space to realise. Mindfulness cultivates space. Something, for some reason, we have all been led to believe there is a lack of.
Look up, then look in. : )
Have an incredible, mindful day.