Mindfulness Practice and Mindfulness CoursesThursday, 12th October 2023
Mindfulness Practice and Becoming Mindful
To become mindful in our daily lives requires practice. This involves some form of regular meditative practice, such as sitting meditation or walking mediation; and embraces other approaches such as Autogenic Training.
What does mindfulness mean?
This is not exactly a straightforward question. It certainly includes various concepts such as non-judgement, acceptance, trust – and compassion for ourselves and others. The term mindfulness has its origins in Buddhist philosophy / teachings. The Sanskrit word for mindfulness (awareness) is Smṛti. This literally means:
- “remember” or
- “remembering”. Thich Nhat Hanh says:
Mindfulness is remembering to come back to the present moment. The character the Chinese use for ‘mindfulness’: , has two parts:
- the upper part means ‘now,’ and
- the lower part means ‘mind’ or ‘heart’.
The first miracle of Mindfulness is to be present and able to touch deeply the blue sky, the flower, and the smile of our children.
Hanh 1998 p 64-65
IN: The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching:
Transforming Suffering into Peace,
Joy, and Liberation
So it is remembering to come back to the present moment throughout each day – and potentially in each moment. This can allow us to respond in an appropriate and mindful manner. Such a response embraces the Chinese concept of Jen – which is perhaps best translated as “human-heartedness” [Alan Watts].
When we are not mindful, we may react in inappropriate ways – as we are unconsciously driven by forces we are not aware of. These driven forces within us are sometimes referred to as us being on “Automatic Pilot”; in this state we are not truly present.
In remembering to come back to the present moment, we develop skills to deal with the inevitable ups and downs of life – and thus we become increasingly Mindfully Present, to use Chris Bowden’s phrase.
To conclude: our western translation of Smṛti (as mindfulness) gives it a misleading cognitive and left hemisphere bias: mindfulness that is not heartfelt is not mindfulness. The term would perhaps be better translated as:
- “Mind-Heartfull-ness” – or
Mind-Heartfull-ness also enables us to value moments each day – that otherwise we can easily overlook – and in this way regain our childhood sense of wonder.
Mindfulness Now Group Course
Ian Ross is a Mindfulness Now Teacher, and is running a Group Course starting on:
- Thursday, 12th October 2023.
This consists of eight weekly sessions, with a consolidation 9th session scheduled for early 2024.
- Link to further information here
Venue: Gullane, East Lothian.
For further information, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org