Jon Kabbat Zin in his book ‘Full Catastrophe Living’ outlines seven attitudinal factors that constitute the pillars of mindfulness. Each of them are interconnected and the practice of mindfulness asks that you if we keep cultivating these positive mind attitudes or even become aware of them in our everyday thinking we will be able to channel our energy to the stuff in life that really matters. Our life is made up of precious moments and the less time we spend wasting our energy on what is not important the more time we will have for what is. When our mind is clear we can make better choices for our life and for those around us but more importantly we can become present to what we have been missing.
The foundations for mindful practice/meditation are;
Non-Judging, Patience, A beginner’s mind, Trust, Non-Striving, Acceptance and Letting Go.
As an experiment take a ten minute section of your day and note how often one of these qualities arise. When are you judgmental, when do you become intolerant or impatient, when do you think you know it all and therefore stop listening? How often are you suspicious of someones actions or motives, what are you struggling to achieve, when do you rail against life circumstances and how often to you grasp onto something that is leaving your world?
When these hooks get hold of us we can become committed to them. In our mind we take a fanciful journey to all the dark places maybe on one person’s comment towards us. We theorize, judge, think we know better, or doubt ourselves.We throw more of out thoughts onto the fire until the blaze is out of control, soon forgetting what the actual spark for our internal disagreements were.
Through regular formal mediation or mindfulness practice we begin to see that webs we spin in our mind and how we become so attached to our own personal melodramas. Through practice we can begin to untangle ourselves from the stickiness of our own mind creations and start to cultivate clearer attitudes to our life.
Practice for the week: Make a note of when you are straying from the foundations of mindfulness. If you find yourself being judgmental begin by labeling the thought as judgmental, that’s all. No need to add anything else to this.The purpose of this is just to see the workings of the mind and to learn a little more about yourself in the process.