Many years ago Tho’s father subscribed us to Times magazine,
Tho’s father has passed away since a few years and we still receive weekly a Time magazine copy (for
some time even two copies per week!) even though we never prolonged our subscription. (our son says Time magazine is USA propaganda and thats why …I see what he means. I always love the 100 most influencial people chosen by Time. I think, only
people who read Time magazine and certain Americans know most of these people ! For most other people in other parts of the world, totally different people are most influencial and those chosen by Time totally irevelant…you agree ?)
Well anyway one of the last issues had on its cover The MINDFUL REVOLUTION
I read it sort of with interest…I say only sort of as this subject
treated in this journalistic, slightly detached, mondaine way, really starts to worry me a bit,
When I say worry I don’t mean it keeps me up at night…ha ha..but there is something I start to be uncomfortable with,
I read or heard someone interviewed in Davos WEF (World economic forum) (may be I read it in Time magazine, sorry for not checking my sources) who said : Nowadays there is such pressure to start
to meditate and practice Mindfulness, that I started to meditate as well and it really does me good ! (some high level Business person…do you think he will do business differently, more mindfully..or
just more effectively ?)
In 2005 I did the MBSR Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction training in the US. (not the full one, but the 10 days introduction course). Jon Kabbat Zinn developed a very wonderful
stress reduction process or rather therapy and his work definitively contributed to the « spreading » of this Mindfulness revolution,.
I enjoyed MBSR a lot, learnt a lot and it
DID ME GOOD ! I came there to learn his « method » but actually felt it did me good on a personal level. Mindfulness practices do « work »….yet…having participated in many buddhist retreats before,
I sort of always felt a bit…how to say…feeling a certain poverty in the main motivation of doing these very ancient and profound exercices, mainly in the aim of bringing « me well being » (Kabbat Zinn bases all his exercices
on ancient tradition meditation and mindfulness exercices that he makes accessable and « therapeutic » and non religious)
I know when you start your loving kindness meditation by :
May I be happy and well etc…but then you move on…right…may you be happy...may all beings be happy
Shanti Deva (8th century saint) said : All the suffering in the world comes from seeking pleasure for oneself. All the happiness in the world comes from seeking pleasure for others.
For me the motivation,
the intention of why we do such practices is VERY important,
Also that Mindfulness cannot be seen alone, seperated from deep understanding, wisdom, we are mindfull of what ? and of a certain discipline, ethics, that will help
us to transform and become better human beings.
I know many people do not like religion, do not like discipline, do not like conventional ethics, so mindfulness seems a good way to still be able to practice
, but without these inconveniences.
Religions have brought and are still bringing divisions, obscurantism, etc
But any of these practices that
bring us deeper closer to our true being need to be directed, dedicated to something other than just « me »… ?
To practice mindfulness to get more effective in work,
to sell more, to study meditation and concentration to be a better fighter pilot or to do it to be « in »…well...
Of course if it can help to prevent burn out, to relieve
pain, to overcome suffering VERY GOOD !
But some « words » can also be washed empty of their true meaning by being overused by publicity…etc…sometimes I feel
the Mindfulness craze could be counterproductive ?
Because I know it DOES « work « as these are practices developped over centuries and that they have been transmitted from teacher
to student, from heart to heart, over hundreds of years..yet accompagnied by practicing discipline, loving kindness, compassion and deep understanding…
Well it is not for me to judge…… « God » has mysterious ways….
Enjoy your mindfulness practice !
And do it !
5 mindfuulness exercises
Mindfulness is a powerful approach to living fully in the present moment.
Through practical meditative exercises, students of mindfulness learn to experience total consciousness in the here and now.
One of the great mindfulness teachers is Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh, known to his students as “Thay,”
for his down-to-earth approach to concepts like enlightenment and freedom of the mind. In an interview with Buddhist magazine Shambhala Sun, Thay shared his 5 exercises for mindfulness in everyday life.
- Mindful Breathing. Thich
Nhat Hanh advises students to begin with the most essential life process – our breathing. He asks that each person pay attention to the in-breath and the out-breath – using each to cultivate a feeling of joy in being alive and able to breathe.
Thay: “You are breathing in, and while breathing in, you know that you are alive.”
- Concentration. He next suggests going deeply within the process of breathing, following in-breath and out-breath fully
until no other thoughts are present. Thay: “From the beginning of my out-breath to the end of my out-breath, my mind is always with it. Therefore, mindfulness becomes uninterrupted, and the quality of your concentration is improved.”
- Awareness of the Body. The third exercise involves shifting awareness from the breath to the entire body making that breath: “Breathing in, I am aware of my body. Breathing out, I am aware of my body… Mind and body become
one reality. When your mind is with your body, you are well established in the here and the now. You are fully alive. You can be in touch with the wonders of life that are available in yourself and around you.”
Tension. Thich Nhat Hanh uses the fourth exercise to address feelings of anxious tension that we might not have noticed before mindfulness practice: “When you are truly aware of your body, you notice there is some tension and pain in your
body, some stress. The tension and pain have been accumulating for a long time and our bodies suffer, but our mind is not there to help release it.”
- Walking Meditation. Finally, Thich Nhat Hanh descends upon
a favorite exercise and personal pastime – walking meditation. “You don’t have to make any effort during walking meditation, because it is enjoyable. You are there, body and mind together. You are fully alive, fully present in the here and
the now. With every step, you touch the wonders of life that are in you and around you. When you walk like that, every step brings healing.”