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What Is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is a beautiful practice that helps in connecting and being rooted in life as it flows by. It involves getting our minds back to the present and paying attention to the life that is unfolding right now within us and around us.

Definition of Mindfulnes

“Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way; on purpose, in the present moment, and non judgmentally.”

Our attention and where we apply it is all that is in our control. Nothing else really is. We canot control whether a thought comes our way or a memory emerges. But we can decide whether we want to attend to it or not.

On purpose

It is about being deliberate and choosing consciously with a certain degree of awareness. You consciously choose what you wish to pay attention to-what is healthy to attend to in this moment. By being conscious and aware you can change the reactive habit patterns that have been conditioned over years.

In the present moment

Life in always unfolding in the here and now. In the present moment. It is only in the now that we can truly connect to and engage with life. Every other moment where we put our mind- be it past or future or fantasy- is only in our imagination, it is truly non-existent.

Non judgementally

It’s not about liking or disliking the present moment. It is not about wanting or not wanting it. It is simply about staying with it, witnessing it, connecting to it. Non-judgmental acceptance of experience alters the way a difficult situation is handled. Responses can be skillfully selected choices rather than reactions driven by habitual emotional and physiological behaviour patterns.

With compassion

This is another very crucial aspect of the mindfulness practice. Mindfulness is not a practice of force. It is a practice of compassion and gentleness. It is a way of bringing the mind to the present without being forceful towards it, without a achievement mindset.

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Indian Origins of Mindfulness Meditation

Origins of Mindfulness: Religion, Philosophy, or Psychology?

Mindfulness is seen to have its roots in ancient Eastern, primarily Buddhist, traditions.

However, there are enough references in Hindu scriptures that emphasize on meditation, silence and acceptance, which is what mindfulness is about. We have Upanishads describing meditations, some including a mantra or chant, others not including a chant.

No matter where you look, how you approach meditation or what name you give this practice of being calm and present, the essence seems too similar to even bother with the differences.

Upanishads and Indian Hindu Traditions

These traditions talk of the misidentification with the self instead of a sense of oneness with the larger force of God as the reason for suffering. Consequently they emphasize on silent and meditative practices in order to deepen connection with the whole, to lose the ego and to let the mind get calm so that it can reflect the beauty and wholeness of God. God is mainly seen as the whole of which everything is part (seen as Satchitananda – ever existing, ever conscious, ever new bliss)

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