During the past 20 years, Mindfulness has really found its way into many people’s hearts. Especially young people seem to have fallen in love with the idea of being Mindful. From the time the Chinese invaded Tibet in 1950, the Tibetans have spread all over the world, bringing oceans of wisdom out of Tibet to the western world.
I would like very much to clarify a little what Mindfulness is and in relation to this, also what Meditation is.
Jon Kabat-Zinn has defined mindfulness as “The awareness that arises from paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment and non-judgmentally”.
And this is a very accurate description. I would, for the sake of precision add that this is a practice that if it is going to work, has to be practiced daily and always from your heart. In everything you do, remember your heart.
This will make your Mindfulness practice much more precise and to the point.
Mindfulness is like learning to play the piano and be able to play your favorite songs. Meditation is like a concert pianist who has practiced 8 hours a day for 20 years.
You can regard Mindfulness as Meditation ‘light’.
The purpose of Mindfulness is NOT to make you be able to withstand higher levels of stress or make you perform more, faster, or better! The purpose of true Mindfulness is not to achieve less stress in your life either – although this can be a very nice side benefit.
At some point in human development, we found that some level of hygiene is very beneficial to us. We are now at a time in history where we are learning that some level of mental hygiene is also beneficial.
The deepest purpose of Mindfulness is to wake you up.
Mindfulness is not to achieve something and it is not about getting rid of something. If that is your purpose you have fallen out of the present moment.
As humans, we tend to identify with thoughts and feelings. We tend to believe that thought and feeling control us.
Mindfulness will teach you to be unattached to your thoughts and feelings and the biggest reward by being able to look at thoughts and feelings from the outside is that you are coming home. Home to your self. Or at least closer to home. Closer to your self and your true being. You will slowly become more awake and aware.
In time you will be able to watch your thoughts while they arise from homelessness. Watch them take form as words and watch them dissolve back into homelessness. And you were no part of the process. You only witnessed it while it happened.
Are you Thinking what you are or are you Being what you are?
The one you THINK you are is not who you really are. It is only thoughts about who you are and discovering that you are not what you THINK you are will bring you closer to the peace and quiet that lives in your heart. That what is REALLY you!
The one who is doing the thinking about who you are is lost in thinking about who you are rather than BEING who you are!
Realize that there is an infinite difference between who you THINK you are and who you really are. Realize it is not the spoon that bends. It is you!
Going from Mindlessness to Mindfulness is like going into a dark room and gradually turning up the light. You move from being unconscious to becoming aware.
A huge industry of Western Mindfulness teachers has flourished all over the world, offering mindfulness classes in just about every country on the earth.
Many of today’s teachers are not quite able to teach you the precise path back to your real self. Simply because they haven’t found their own real self. They are still searching.
If you want authentic and competent teaching you need to find a teacher who has realized that level of consciousness, and they are rare. It will take 10-20 years of intense practice to become an authentic teacher in Mindfulness.
Here are 9 ways to know if you have found an authentic Mindfulness teacher:
- He has been practicing mindfulness for 3-8 hours every day for the past 10-20 years. Maybe even more.
- She will be present and authentic, and she will know when you throw your projections at her, and she will most kindly reject them!
- He will not be your father/mother or your lover. He will be your teacher.
- She has a teacher who has even more training than her.
- He knows his borders and he will say yes and no accordingly.
- She will be soft and gentle like a feather falling silently to the ground but sharp and precise as a katana cutting through the noise.
- It should be very easy to count his enemies. Ideally, he has none.
- She has been on several groups and solo retreats lasting from 3 months to a year.
- The only ambition he has is the Presence of Love.
It might take a long time to find such a teacher so, in the meantime, you might wanna go with a local teacher to get you started!
There is NO path to happiness. Happiness IS the path – Buddha.