Significance and Miracles of Mindfulness
Posted On March 30, 2021
The very term ‘miracle’ should not upset anyone who wants to understand mindfulness in a scientific way as well its efficacy in leading a balanced, peaceful, and meaningful life. ‘Miracle’ here stands for the astonishing impact and benefits of mindfulness in achieving a desired state in one’s life. Miracles of Mindfulness should not direct us to any supernatural proposition in any way. In this article, we will discuss the significance and miracles of mindfulness.
Mindfulness is generally considered as focused attention. But the term ‘mindfulness’ does not properly explain the concept of Mindfulness Meditation. For the proper understanding of the term, we must look into the meaning and significance of the Pali term Vipassana. The literal meaning of the term Vipassana is to look into with special attention. Please note that the meaning is not to look at something attentively. The significance of the term is to look inward attentively. It denotes an inward look into the various phenomena of the mind. (For better clarification about the idea, you can refer to this article.)
When we talk about mindfulness, we may immediately think that the mind is full with something, as if we are ready to apply our mind! It seems as if we apply our mind or any other tool to an external object. But the implication of mindfulness is totally different. In Vipassana, we direct our focus of attention inward. We look into our conscious state of the mind. We should rather call this inward attention as insight or introspection. That’s why Vipassana is often called as insight meditation.
It seems that the western translators had opted the term ‘mindfulness’ for all practical purposes. Second reason may be the lack of derivatives. We should be aware of the fact that the insight or looking into one’s own mind with special attention is carried over into other worldly affairs. That’s why we should validate the term ‘mindfulness’ from a different angle’.
The greatest mindfulness teacher of the world Buddha also directs us to be mindful in the four states of our existence namely, walking, sitting, standing and lying. This we can call practical Zen or mindfulness at work.
In Vipassana meditation, one realizes that the body and the mind are the different aspects of the same reality. In that context, the term Vipassana created the impression among the western scholars’ mind that Vipassana is the skill for paying attention to. I think the term mindfulness came into existence in this perspective only!
After all, paying attention to one’s inner working of the mind is the core of mindfulness meditation. So, for our ease of discussion, we use the term Mindfulness most of the time.
In simple terms, mindfulness is the training of attention and meta attention. We observe and pay attention to the different sensations and feelings arising and passing away in our mind and body. We discover that our mental reactions affect our body sensations. We thus know that the mind has an inseparable connection with matter. This realization is the example of the significance and miracles of mindfulness! Isn’t it?
Monkey Mind: When we meditate, our mind behaves like a monkey. We give effort again and again to bring our attention back to the various mental phenomena. We do not identify ourselves with any sensations as we dig deeper into the roots of our sensations and feelings. But again our mind deviates and behaves like a monkey. Again, we have to put the mind back to the task of paying attention to. So mindfulness is basically a self-induced training of attention and meta attention.
Mindfulness has two aspects namely, focused attention and open awareness. We have already discussed what is focused attention. Open awareness is basically of the present moment with being non-judgmental to any thoughts that arise in awareness. Awareness is like an open sky. The thoughts and emotions are like floating clouds. The clouds are impermanent. We have to know that the clouds will pass away anyway with time. This is called Panya or the wisdom of the realization of impermanent nature of existence.
In meditation, when we react to any pleasant or unpleasant sensation, body vibration, pleasant or unpleasant feeling, it means that we for sometime become oblivious of the wisdom of impermanence; we become attached to these. We forget the golden principle of Letting Go.
Undue attachment is the root of suffering. Mindfulness meditation is the constant reminder as well as rigorous training of our conscious and unconscious mind not to get attached to anything that deviates our mind from living in the present moment.
Living fully in the present moment makes us dynamic. Being dynamic is a requisite survival quality for all, be it the entrepreneurs, the new age career opportunists, senior citizens, and working women.
There is a major obstacle that neutralizes our efforts to fully live in the present moment, and that obstacle is reaction. It means our reaction to the feelings, whether positive or negative; our body sensations or vibrations, whether pleasant or unpleasant.
There are five areas in which mindfulness can unleash wonders for us:
Development of Emotional Intelligence: Awareness of Living in the present moment gives rise to emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence powers us to distinguish ourselves with other people. Emotional intelligence enables people to stand out among the herd. It’s the ability to recognize one’s emotional drive that is helpful to achieve a goal and triggers him or her to take necessary course of action. It helps one to channelize efforts to reach a particular goal in life.
Emotional IQ is not like general IQ. General IQ is the indicator of a person’s cognitive ability. It enables us to intellectualize concepts and problems. Emotional IQ enables us to evaluate the context and perspective of our emotions.
Many researches conducted on the topic of emotional intelligence confirm that of all the contributory elements of a successful people, emotional intelligence is the largest contributory element of success.
Significance and Miracles of Mindfulness is best witnessed as far as amazing development of emotional intelligence is concerned.
Growth of self-awareness: Even though we may arrive at a conclusion of non-self at a deep level of mindfulness meditation, we cannot override the notion of self awareness to arrive at such a conclusion. The road to ultimate realization passes through self to non-self!
During mindfulness meditation, we see more clearly the internal state of our being, know our preferences, resources, and intuitions.
Self management Skill: As we navigate through the internal mental states during meditation, we are then ready to manage ourselves in tackling our daily obstacles. Self-management through mindfulness is managing our internal emotional tumult, impulses, and resources. We learn to maintain a balance between stimulus and response. So, mindfulness is the art of living.
For effective self management, we can follow a good formula which is known as SBNRR. SBNRR stands for stop, breathe, notice, reflect, and respond.
When we are under stress or disturbed by an unsteady mind, we just stop, take a deep breath, notice the arising and passing away of our emotions and sensations, then reflect on the issue, and finally respond positively. This is the mindful self-management skill.
Motivation: As we know our internal state of our mind, non-reaction and balance, we know exactly what we are. Self-knowledge is very helpful and motivating to envision our future. With self-knowledge, you may find yourself in your dream job, make the right career choice, or life calling. Mindfulness enables us to respond positively to our inner calling. It’s the language of our heart.
Leadership: There is a term in Pali language called Metta which means Loving Compassion. It’s a part of the Vipassana system of meditation. The purpose of it’s practice is to develop compassion and empathy for all living beings. With a balanced mind and all emotions and feelings working in harmony improve our social skills. Empathy combined with social skills is a deadly combination for a good leader.
This is how mindfulness does wonders in our personal and career development. We call this the significance and miracles of mindfulness!
Thank you for your time to read this post.
From Zen Unrestricted