Mindfulness has emerged as one of the key transformative tools of the 21st century. Ironically, its origins date back nearly 2000 years ago, as part of the awakening process experienced by The Buddha.
Today’s mindfulness is secular and requires no religious knowledge or allegiance, to experience its deep and profound influence.
Mindfulness is not a difficult concept to grasp, however it does require some informed guidance to start with. To be ‘mindful’ requires a certain amount of calm concentration and an allowing of the mind to be still and receptive. It is a falsity to say that the goal of mindfulness is pure relaxation, in fact mindfulness allows us to be more fully present but in a calmer, less judgmental way. It allows us to soften our thoughts, become present to everyday experiences and be more fully engaged in our lives.
Often with many journeys into the human condition, enquiring into the source of discomfort or even pain, may well take place and according to the issues involved, maybe necessary. With mindfulness however this is not required. We work and aim to be, in the present moment as best we can.
As a survival mechanism, we have evolved to be prepared for threats and although there are no longer bears outside the cave, we often act, metaphorically, as if there were. The consequence of this is we get caught in the fight, flight or freeze process. Then the mind often defaults to the negative, to figure out what did or may, go wrong.
As a result, it is a human tendency to polarise both our thoughts and our feelings. We can quickly find ourselves either digging in the past or worrying about the future, rarely are we present, in the here and now. Mindfulness teaches us this. It teaches us how to accept, without resignation, the current state of things. It shows us how to attune to our own bodies more and to recognise the true impermanence of things. It takes us off autopilot and offers more choices. In short, we begin to think and act differently.
In mindfulness you will learn that you are not just made up of your thoughts and these thoughts we all have, are not threats. To our western way of thinking, this may seem curious but ultimately it offers freedom and liberation.