Sunday, October 9, 2011

Jon Kabat-Zinn


Several attitudes are the foundation for mindfulness mediation practice:

Non-judging:  Mindfulness is cultivated by assuming a stance of impartial witness to our own experience.  This requires that we become aware of the constant stream of evaluative and judging thoughts that we have- then step back.  With a non-judging mind, things are seen as neither "good" nor "bad"- but simply present or absent.

Patience:  Patience demonstrates that we understand and accept that things have their own time for unfolding.  We tend to be impatient with ourselves, expecting we "should" be able to calm the mind, stop the thoughts, or get over what ever is upsetting us.  These things take their own time; the mind has a :mind of its own" and patience allows us to simply observe the unfolding of the mind and body over time.

Beginner's mind:  In order to be able to see the richness of the present moment, it helps to cultivate a mind that is willing to see everything as if for the very first time.  We tend to become jaded and think we have seen or done this or that.  In contrast, with a beginner's mind, the joys of the world as it unfolds around us become new again, as if we we are all children- freed from our old expectations based on past experiences.

Trust:  You are your own best guide.  It is far better to trust your own feelings and intuition than to get caught up in the authority of "experts".  If at anytime something does not feel right to you, pay attention, examine your feelings, and trust your own inherent wisdom.

Non-striving:  Meditation is different from all other human activity- we do it not with a goal or destination in mind, but rather with a mind towards simply being- not doing.  There is no objective other than to be conscious of yourself as you are.

Acceptance:  Acceptance involves seeing things as they actually are in the present.  We may not like it, but if that is the way things are, so they are.  Acceptance allows us to cease struggling to change things that are beyond our ability to control and is the first step in any genuine process of change.  Acceptance frees the mind.

Letting go:  Letting go, also known as "non-attachment', is fundamental to mindfulness, meditation practice.  In our minds, there are often things we want to hold on to (pleasant thoughts, feelings) or push away (unpleasant experiences).  With letting go, we put aside the tendency to elevate some parts of our experience and reject others- simply letting our experience be what it is, accepting things as they are without judging and realizing the constantly changing nature of all experience.

Gratitude:  The quality of reverence, appreciation and beinig thankful for the present moment.

Gentleness:  Characterized by soft, considerate, and tender quality; soothing, however, not passive, undisciplined, or indulgent.

Empathy:  The quality of feeling and understanding another person's situation- their perspectives, emotions, actions (reactions)- and communicating this to the person.

Loving kindness:  A quality embodying benevolence, compassion, and cherishing, a quality felled with forgiveness and unconditional love.

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