|Mindfulness has tended to be associated with Buddhism
because of its focus on being entirely present, in a way that is similar to a
stage in Buddhist meditation. But the
practise of mindfulness does not pre-suppose a need to understand Buddhist
psychology or be a “believer” in any sense.
There is a growing body of research into the beneficial effect of the
‘brain-state’ of mindfulness on temperament, day-to-day responses and
well-being. But here we are not
concerned to convert or to prove, rather to explain how and why we offer to
train guests in mindfulnes and meditation if they wish.
We tend to spend most of our lives a long way from being
completely “in the moment”. We are
usually very far from completely
doing what we are engaged in. Whatever
we are doing, even if we are just standing still looking at a view, we are
giving ourselves a running commentary on why we are there, what we think about
what we’re doing, how we come to be doing it at all, and finding a myriad
memories and connections floating into our thoughts. And it’s not just in our heads: if we could look at ourselves, on our face we
would see a portrayal of what we are feeling and the tensions and
discomforts of our life’s conditioning.
What would it be like to be without all that… to be aware
only of the sensations and stimuli that are coming to us right now… pure
Paradoxically it gets us nearer to ourselves, because most
of the clutter that goes around our heads comes from the past, and how we deal
with it is set by outside and out-of-date influences as much as by what we
genuinely want. So the challenge of
being really ourselves is a challenge to ‘just
be’. That is mindfulness. And there can be mindfulness of looking and
mindfulness of walking and mindfulness of playing the guitar… even mindfulness
of doing the washing up! What is
happening is that we are just being
the person who is hearing, seeing, feeling, doing those things. Just. And the relief can be astonishing.