Understanding and practising mindfulness helps us to face up to some basic facts of life: pain and difficulties are inevitable, but how we respond to them is changeable; we can’t change anyone’s behaviour but our own; we are responsible for our own happiness; our happiness is dependent upon our attitudes and actions; and old habits die hard.
‘Mindfulness’, says Vietnamese Zen master Thich Nhat Hahn, ‘is the miracle by which we master and restore ourselves.’ Practising mindfulness nourishes optimism, resilience, flexibility, confidence, compassion and curiosity; bringing perspective, relief and renewed commitment to making the most of the challenges and opportunities that life presents.
Being mindful engages three essential aspects of awareness - intention, attention and attitude. Jon Kabat-Zinn, founder of the now world-renowned Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program, summed this up neatly when he said, ‘Mindfulness is a particular way of paying attention: on purpose, in the present moment and non-judgmentally.’ Mindfulness is a practice of noticing what’s happening right now, within us and around us, with an attitude of friendly curiosity, whether we like it or not. It is a simple practice that takes just that, practise.
by Dr Sharn Rocco