Somehow the ‘mindful wave’ has reached us all, but we would not know how to define or specify what it consists of and where the enormous success it is having lies.
WHAT IS IT?
Mindfulness is a quality of the mind, a mental capacity that all human beings possess and if we train it properly, it brings enormous benefits.
This Anglo-Saxon term has its origin in the word “Sati” in the Pali language, and its most faithful translation would be “Mindfulness“.
Mindfulness consists of training the mind to maintain full attention in the present moment. This means that if I am having coffee, I am not thinking about the meeting that I have afterwards, nor about the amount of tasks that I have to do, nor about the discussion with my partner this morning; I simply have a coffee feeling the warmth of the cup in my hands, the slightly bitter taste in my mouth, perceiving each sensation in the body and each mental process that arises spontaneously, all of this under an attitude of acceptance, with kindness and without make any judgment on what happens in my mind.
In the ‘multitasking’ society we live in, it demands more and more of us. Mindfulness can be the solution to our headaches, it is about simplifying our life, reeling off the experience to the maximum, avoiding distractions. There is no place to remember the past or to make future projections. The only possible reality is the present moment and what happens in it. In this way, it is possible to see reality, the events as they are, with greater objectivity and free of emotional charge.
In this sense, Mindfulness is very similar to formal meditation, in fact it comes from the East and is the basis of Buddhist practices. Arguably, it is a form of meditation wonderfully adapted to the West and to our needs. It does not require a special space or time, any moment and situation, it is good to practice Mindfulness.
HOW TO START?
A good start is to set an alarm several times a day, every two hours for example. Each time it rings, spend 5 or 10 seconds perceiving everything that happens in your body-mind. Body posture, tensions, discomfort, the thoughts that happen and their quality, breathing, etc. Do not try to exchange annoying sensations for more pleasant ones. Simply endeavor to observe and perceive from impartiality and loving acceptance.
During the last 30 years this practice of Mindfulness has been introduced and integrated in the medicine and psychology of the West. Numerous scientific studies have been carried out that show that Mindfulness is an effective tool in stress reduction.
- Development of skills to handle stress and anxiety situations.
- Decrease in physical and psychological symptoms associated with stress.
- Recognize, slow down or stop automatic and habitual reactions.
- Decreased mental fluctuations and recurring thoughts.
- Improvement of the immune response.
- Increased level of self-esteem, enthusiasm and joy.
If we have aroused your curiosity, we invite you to try some Mindfulness practice.