M i n d f u l n e s s
( Vipassana meditation )
Learning to Meditate properly can:
- Decrease Pains
Assist Relational Connection
Generate Compassion / Understanding
Grow neurobiological brain tissue (maintain memory).
Since the 1980's I have practiced and familiarized myself with many psychotherapeutic ideas that have become to be known, in a general sense, as Mindfulness. Some of these ideas are, for example, relaxation techniques, creative visualization, guided imagery that, by their nature, could be described experiences that help people escape what they experience for something more pleasurable. There are many ideas of what “mindfulness” and being mindful is about. The fact remains that it cannot be spoken of or taught, it can only be experienced for ones self, as suggested by Lao Tzu and existentialism... However, it can be in the form of guided experiences to practice being with a whole experience rather than being trapped in certain thoughts or particular emotional constructs within a systemic context. Buddha said suffering is an existential normality of life but is exacerbated with craving and aversion. So, being mindful is, in a sense, to avoid avoiding our experiences and, thus, craving other than what we experience makes suffering intensify. Mindfulness in this context, then, becomes a practice towards de-conditioning our re-conditioning.
Mindfulness practices can be viewed as bearing resemblance to Freud's thinking with the idea that it benefits us to move beyond pleasures towards better learning to 'accept and commit' to personal pains, especially as we age. We get good at what we practice and people can chose to practice being okay with what they experience. Also, it aligns with accepting a multiple reality as Jung and many other phenomenologists have argued - there are many views of a particular thing. Furthermore, this aligns with Rational Emotive and Cognitive Behavioural Therapies (RE-CBT), in that, thinking, imagination, and schemata can get in the way of feeling okay. Also, systemic thinking expresses that there are more contexts than thinking, emotional constructs, and concepts available within the connective vastness of holism. Also, as ‘the great way of Carl Rogers’, a legendary humanist, asserted - an emerging whole-self resides beyond embodied conceptions that we move towards with actualization. Within a system the parts are inter-related and these parts all effect the other parts. These parts are described as sub-systems of wider systems. e.g. individuals, families, and organizations. When focusing into, towards, and with these systemic parts as suggested by E. Gendlin or the methods of Internal Family Systems Therapy (IFS), together with the herein mentioned ideas it can be understood that “mindfulness” has been influencing, or at least resonating with the psychotherapies, for a long time.
"There are many in the one and more than the many".
Mindfulness helps people to better 'be with' suffering and see what generates it, whilst simultaneously helps us feel freedom. Also, mindfulness reaches towards what more is available to bring a felt difference, as though, diluting suffering - with a wider scope of perception. This could be described like splitting-off from suffering by bending to a different position or view (e.g. we have to bend to drink water). Via this splitting-off nature humans are argued, by psychology, to be enabled 'to see more context' and also observe beyond what constructs it - from a space between humans construct consciousness and relational awareness.
Therefore, mindfulness becomes a way to both escape and 'be with' - a way to add calm to chaos and accept chaos, from and within calm; otherwise, recognise the benefits of calm in chaos and chaos in calm. Mindful practice is about embodying a natural balance (Dhamma), via exercises of the mind - developed over thousands of years.
People go to the gym to strengthen their bodies and in this sense it is beneficial to do the same for our mind. However, this strength is not a rigid one, but is a flexible source of resilience accessed via practice in the right way - this is asserted to be called "right mindfulness".
Mindfulness helps give hindsight and people know that once we have experienced something, when it has passed, it is easier to see it and accept it - from a distanced view. Mindfulness in the vipassana context is the experiential practice of this process in both the mind and body, something like walking up a hill and seeing the town from above, to later return to its comfort or better accept ' what is' or make changes towards the well-being of their own innate process after a reflective break.
As a personal and social duty of care I have been lucky enough to achieve beyond the basic experiential benchmark that is recommended for practitioners to become ethically positioned to do ‘the work’ with others - as set-out by Jon Kabat-Zinn (Stress Reduction Clinic), demonstrated in the book “Mindfulness” and highly recognized global meditation organization (i.e. at least 10 full days of continuous total meditative saturation is deemed necessary to achieve the most basic conception). This is regarded as a difficult feat towards understanding what is described as “Vipassana dissolve” to connect with deeper nature (Dhamma / Self). This means my experiential understanding is regarded as enough to safely work with consciousness, mindful or meditative practice, at the experiential level along with the logical.
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