“Mindfulness is a very simple concept and means paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgementally.” – Jon Kabat-Zinn
Never before has there been so much help available, yet more and more people are suffering from anxiety, depression and many other mental health problems.
Many people will look to external factors in a bid to find some happiness, such as losing weight, a new job, a new partner, new haircut, cosmetic treatments etc. But this is just a short term fix that seldom results in contentment.
Unfortunately, the world is filled with pain and suffering, on both an individual level and as a collective. It has become almost normal to feel miserable and suffer. So what is the cause of our suffering?
Quite simply, we suffer because we pay attention to our thoughts.
We need the mind to function but there comes a time when our thoughts take over our lives. We believe what they are saying and more often than not, we act upon them. We are almost always lost in our thoughts, either worrying about what will happen in the future or feeling pain and guilt about what happened in the past.
It is the listening to and believing these thoughts, these stories created in our mind, which is the source of our pain.
Feelings of anxiety, restlessness, guilt, sadness etc. are seen as normal and, if they become unmanageable, we look at ways to cope such as medication and therapy. We also don’t like to let our guard down. We live each day, hoping people can’t see the cracks underneath our smooth exterior.
Mindfulness can offer a relief from this pain.
How we relate to others can also be a source of pain. People who would consider themselves to have a normal relationship deal with conflicts, suffering and disagreements. Relationships that do not have any conflict are seen as rare. The same can be said of our workplace, our families, our friendships etc.
Within all these settings, there is one common thread – we listen to our thoughts. Not only do we listen to them, we believe them and act upon them. We give our attention to the stories of the painful past or to the frightening future, even though neither are our reality – they are just thoughts in our head.
The fear we experience is totally within our mind, as is the relief from this suffering… Mindfulness!
The Depressing Past
Once an event has taken place, our mind will begin to analyse it. It will look at what has happened, then begin to compare this to what it believes should have happened, leaving us with feelings such as guilt, shame, regrets and remorse. Far too easily this slips into apathy and even depression. We spend time comparing our reality with our imagined ideal scenario.
People carry around pain and suffering, sometimes from things that happened many, many years ago. The mind often replays these scenes over and over, with feelings of anger and thoughts that cause us great pain.
Constantly re-playing these scenes, with their negative thoughts, can often lead to similar events happening in our life, over and over again. We live with this self-torture, replaying all our major mistakes, reliving every wrong ever done to us, giving our mind a template for ‘foretelling’ what will happen in the future, based on the past!
Practicing Mindfulness enables us to bring our focus back to the present time, back to the here and now. This allows us to learn lessons from the past in a clear and calm manner, and then let it go.
When we learn how to do this, using Mindfulness, the past has no power over us, leaving us with a sense of peace and calm.
Source: SNHS Mindfulness Course written by Lisa Wells
About Lisa Wells
I first became aware of Mindfulness in 2006, when I studied Reiki 1 and have maintained my interest during Reiki II and Reiki Master.
Within my own Holistic Therapy business I have integrated Mindfulness into all the therapies I offer.
Recently, I was approached by an ‘Addiction Rehabilitation unit’ to teach mindfulness to their clients, over an 8 week period. The results during this time were quite profound, which prompted me to write this course.
I also have first-hand experience of mindfulness being of great benefit for those suffering with depression and anxiety – another reason why it is so important to me for people to be able to learn these wonderful techniques.
Reiki Master Usui Shiki Ryoho (Usui System of Natural Healing)
GNVQ (Distinction) in Health & Social Care, Certificate in Welfare Studies (Distinction), Member of the Institute of Welfare Officers
Diploma in Crystal Healing, Psychology A level