In recent years the medical and psychological literature has identified the many benefits of mindfulness meditation and brought it into mainstream consciousness. We become aware of thoughts and feelings, learning to observe them non-judgmentally without reacting to them and cultivating meditative-like strategies for helping develop mindfulness practice.
The practice of Mindfulness allows one to become present to life as it is being lived, right here in this moment. Presence is already within you. The practices learned in a mindfulness class simply help us to recognise the habitual thinking patterns and internal dialogs within our own mind that keep us distracted from being fully present to our own life’s journey. It gives us the freedom to recognize our own behaviours and gain perspective. Taking time out for formal practice to intentionally be present to our breath, bodies, thoughts and emotions will eventually spill over into life practice of our daily activities.
In the last two decades a huge amount of research has been carried on the benefits of mindfulness in dealing with stress, physical and mental pain and creating general well being. It is also a method of exploration, in the sense that, we learn to become focused on the present moment rather than having scattered attention.
Jon Kabat-Zinn referring to a study conducted in 2007 says that “Increasing evidence from laboratory studies of meditators has shown that the repetitive practices at the heart of meditative disciplines can drive positive neuroplastic changes that also reflect mental and physical well-being, such as greater emotional balance, compassion, and genuine happiness, as well as a potential buffering of stressful and traumatic experience when it does occur.” Mindfulness helps us to recognize and navigate our interior landscape creating mechanisms to cope with stress and find our way to peace and well being.