“Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally."
WHAT IS MINDFULNESS?
I came to mindfulness through Yoga practice when I was 18 years old. Later reading the books of Karen Horney I found Zen. As a young adult in my early 20's I wanted to become a psychoanalyst. I attended the Karen Horney Clinic for my own self-analysis and later the American Institute for Psychoanalytic Institute for a one-year psychoanalytic psychotherapy training before I left to complete my doctorate.
Karen Horney was way ahead of her times in the 1950's when she met Shunryu Suzuki a Sōtō Zen monk, and teacher who helped popularize Zen Buddhism in the United States. Karen Horney believed that psychoanalysis and Zen could be integrated because of their many similarities. The roots of mindfulness come from the contemplative practices of all world religions. These religious traditions and scientific findings show the benefits of “allowing” and relating to our experience rather than struggling with it and avoiding them.
So, how do you describe mindfulness?
Have you ever felt such a deep quality of awareness that you felt like you were flowing just totally ok with this moment, nothing to change, all accepting?
If you were out in nature, you felt such a deep connection with the world around you.
If you were doing the dishes, you could feel the warmth of the water, and the lemon scent of the soap.
If you were kissing your baby, you felt the warmth of his/her cheeks and the baby powder scent of his/her body.
Mindfulness is about the awareness we bring about in our everyday experiences.
So lets practice
Just take a breath. Breathing in just breathe in. Breathing out just breathe out.
Sit with an awareness, first of your thoughts, and let thoughts pass as thoughts.
And just be present with whatever comes.
So, as you read, take a pause and close your eyes, and just be aware of your thoughts, and any bodily sensations. A tightness or a flow.
Take a pause. Listen.
Don’t’ force it, just let it be.
Just watch what your mind creates. Just notice where your mind goes and where it wanders. Notice.
Mindfulness is about noticing without judgment, so just notice.
Continue to practice for just one minute. Breathe in and Breathe out and whenever your thoughts come, let them pass and continue to focus on your Breath.
“Mindfulness practice means that we commit fully in each moment to be present; inviting ourselves to interface with this moment in full awareness, with the intention to embody as best we can an orientation of calmness, mindfulness, and equanimity right here and right now.”
You are here
“When it comes right down to it, wherever you go, there you are. Whatever you wind up doing, that’s what you’ve wound up doing. Whatever you are thinking about right now, that’s what’s on your mind.”
“Like it or not, this moment is all we really have to work with.”
“Give more than you think you can, trusting that you are richer than you think.”
THE GUEST HOUSE
JELALUDDIN RUMI, TRANSLATION BY COLEMAN BARKS
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.
Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
Copyright 1997 by Coleman Barks. Posted with permission. All rights reserved.
From The Illuminated Rumi.T