What is Mindfulness?
It is being fully present with whatever we are doing while we are doing it. We do this by learning how to pay attention, without judgment or distortion, to what is happening in the present moment through a variety of exercises.
Not only are we immersed in a world of thought, but our thoughts and emotions are in conflict with one another. There seem to be different voices in ourselves singing to different tunes, drowning each other out and fighting with each other. For example, we want to be happy but at the same time hate ourselves.
Beneath the stream of incessant competing thoughts and emotions, are deep-rooted habitual patterns that repeat themselves over and over again. They are often rooted in past experiences and not relevant to the present, but we are unaware of them and constantly repeat them. For example, when we were young we did not receive the love and attention we needed and then carry the belief that we are not worthy of love. This may not be relevant to our lives now, but if we still believe it, then it determines how we see ourselves and we end up not feeling loved as a consequence.
As a result of these patterns we end up carrying a lot of emotional pain in our bodies and minds. Whenever this pain rears its head we do whatever we can to avoid it – reach for a cigarette, grab a strong coffee, play our MP3 player. And so it gets driven underground and remains unresolved, but nonetheless affects our mood and physical health.(Grateful thanks to Karma Choden for permission to quote from his material)
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