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ABOUT MINDFULNESS

"Mindfulness is awareness that arises through paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, non judgementally."

Jon Kabat-Zinn

Much of modern secular (non-religious) mindfulness being taught today comes from Buddhist teachings.

 

Developed as a secular practice by Jon Kabat Zinn in the early 1980's, these teachings do not require you to 'believe' anything, but simply to be open to your own direct experience. Founder of The Mindfulness Association, Rob Nairn defines it as:

"Knowing what is happening, while it is happening, without preference"

Sounds simple enough right? In theory it is simple, very simple.  However we soon discover that when we attempt to notice our present moment experience, our 'monkey mind' just wants to jump around!

Try it now. Stop what you are doing, sit still, and do nothing......don't even think.  How did you get on? 

So the the mind is a thinking machine! That's what it does.  We need some tools to work with this rambling mind and that's where mindfulness practices come in.

 

But why would we want to do this? 

We spend much of our lives in a state of distraction.  Not really aware of what we are doing or how we are feeling. Often avoiding or suppressing difficult things and chasing after pleasant things.  But wouldn't it be good not to have our happiness dependant on external things or circumstances?  So how can we be happy, equanimous and content even when things get tough?

Mindfulness practice helps us settle into a place of simply witnessing the coming and going of thoughts, feelings and sensations, without falling into our usual habitual patterns of reactivity.  This gives us space to respond to whatever comes up more skillfully.  This can have a massive effect on how we cope with stress, how we relate to others and how we feel about ourselves.  

Although times have changed, what it means to be human hasn't. We are programmed for our survival, to flee from threat and to seek out food and safety.  Very useful when we were hunter gatherers. 

Modern life can be very hectic, very stressful, so much so our poor nervous systems never get a break.  This has such a huge impact on our wellbeing.  The precious techniques and teachings that come to us from the East have never been more needed.  I want to acknowledge the great teachers who through their compassion for all beings showed us there is way to cultivate a peaceful heart and to live our best lives.

If you'd like to learn more consider joining me on my next 8 week Mindfulness Based Living Course.  More information can be found here.  

May all beings be safe

May all beings be healthy

May all beings be happy

May all beings live with ease

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