Mindfulness, the state of quiet and inward focus, is the key to spiritual living, according to an influential Buddhist monk. This is the same mind-set which is described in the timeless “Buddhistutra” and other works by Indian mystic Buddhism’s great enlightenment master, Buddha. While there is no consensus on the exact meaning of mindfulness, it is generally accepted that it is a discipline, arising from a combination of meditation and compassion, and is intended for the improvement of the person’s quality of life. Some say it is an essential quality of the spiritual life, while others suggest it is simply a helpful tool to develop mindfulness.
So what is mindfulness spiritual? It is not spirituality in the conventional sense of the term. Although it is based on a religious tradition, the focus is not on a particular sect or church but on paying attention to the interdependence of our bodies and minds. Mindfulness is not about being secluded to a religious practice, rather it is about gaining insight and understanding of the interdependence of our mind, body and spirit. So when you are mindful of your breath or other sensation, you are practicing mindfulness.
Mindfulness is not about becoming seclusionist, it is about observing the entire moment as it is, without judging, criticizing or trying to avoid pain. When you are mindful of your breath you are no longer stressed or anxious. When you are mindful of your movements you are no longer in hurry to move. These are three parts of mindful movement: the present moment, mindful movement and mindful breath. The concepts of mindfulness and being present are at the heart of Buddhist meditation.
Kabat-Zinn’s innovation is to combine the wisdom of yoga with the insight of Buddhist wisdom. When he brought this wisdom into the meditation hall, many people came to realize that they could benefit from the wisdom of yoga, but also benefit from the simplicity and depth of Buddhist insight. So he created a path, a journey, to help those who were looking for it, but didn’t know how to find it. He called his creation the Path of the Sunflower. Within its path were two other paths, the Way of the Earthflower and the Way of the Lotus. Together they created what is now known as the Kabat-Zinn Meditation Technique.
The third part of the path is to practice the meditation techniques consistently. The initial part three is just letting go. This is where the real benefits of meditation come into play. The main point of meditation is to let go, to release your anxiety, focus your energy and attention and put aside your mental struggle.
However, some people are resistant to meditation. They feel that they need to be able to hear the meditation instructions in the form of spoken words, or else they feel they need to have kabat-zinn in front of them all the time. While both of these are valid reasons for avoiding meditation, the main reason that people resist kabat-zinn is simply their fear of the unknown.
Once you understand that letting go is part three of taking mindfulness seriously, however, you can overcome any resistance. Some of the most common pitfalls along the path to mindfulness include living outside your comfort zone, struggling with change and fear, and a sense that meditation really doesn’t make much sense. All of these are valid reasons for not trying to meditate. However, once you learn that allowing mind, body, and spirit to take care of themselves is part three of taking mindfulness seriously, these problems start to fade away.
When you’re interested in learning more about mindful living, you can visit my website, where I’ve outlined the first step towards a spiritual life. In part one, I explained what mindfulness is and how it applies to your daily life. In part two, I discussed how jon kabat-zinn’s work has influenced my own thinking. Finally, part three will go over some suggestions for developing mindfulness in everyday life. By using this strategy, you’ll be able to realize your full potential for being a fully-functioning, happy human being.