What is mindfulness?
There exists a multitude of literature, each defining mindfulness in different words but having the same meaning. In the presence of numerous definitions of mindfulness, the leading scientists in the study of mindfulness gathered in early 2000s to define mindfulness (Bishop, et al, 2004). The result of this meeting produced a two-fold definition of mindfulness, which is:
1.) The self-regulation of our attention along with
2.) An attitude of curiosity, openness, and acceptance.
Over the years, the practice of mindfulness has spread from its supposed origins in Asia into the mainstream culture of the world, gaining a large appeal among people of every class. The practice of mindfulness is traced to Ancient Buddhism and is believed to have being practiced before the birth of the Buddha. Although history records reveal that mindfulness has been practiced in different forms by several religions around the world, including Hinduism where it was said to be trained in 1500 BCE under the context of yoga. Similarly, mindfulness existed in Daoism since 6th c. BCE in qì gong exercise, and Buddhism in 535 BCE in terms of focusing on breathing. However, no religion adopted se the practice of mindfulness in the manner Buddhism did and has continued to do.
The practice of mindfulness comes with a number of benefits, some of which have been proven scientifically while other claims remain a hypothesis or scientifically incorrect because it cannot be measured.
In my next articles on mindfulness I will look at some of the benefits of regular practice of mindfulness, I will explore Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) and I will also share some easy ways of being more mindful everyday.
Take a piece of paper and a pen and start drawing a familiar object without looking at it. You can use your mobile phone, your watch, your TV remote control etc. Draw a close-up view, close your eyes and try to remember as many details as you can, then put them on paper. Once done, get your object out and take some time to compare reality with your drawing.
Go through the object you decided to draw with fresh eyes and an intent to identify one new aspect that you did not see before. As you feel more alert to your world, you may become more appreciative and fonder of items you might not really enjoy anymore.
This is an easy way to make you more aware of the world around you and also to make familiar objects new again.
Marie claude Bouchet
Mental well-being, stress management, resilience etc.