When I meet fellow mindfulness teachers I sometimes ask, "What do you think the difference is between mindfulness and Buddhism? If the teacher starts prattling on about brain states and alpha waves and prefrontal cortexs and amygdalas, I will wish him or her the best and quietly excuse myself.
We cannot easily foresee how our society will develop, but some things are highly likely. We shall become more psychologically conscious and more skilful at regulating our emotions. Future generations will find it impossible to understand or excuse the current level of neglect.
We're finding out who we are, so we can do it on purpose. So we can be free. We are gently learning to become honest with ourselves, about ourselves. Which is the entire practice of awareness. All we have to do is show up.
These simple tools can help us get started on the ultimate treasure hunt, where self-awareness and self-acceptance reign, and conscious choices begin rocking our world, rather than the more common suffering-is-all mindset.
We were certainly in the know about stress reduction and relaxation. And yet, I realized in those last days of class that I hadn't yet shared with my students one of my favorite ways of eliminating stress: chanting.
Mindfulness is about slowing down enough to connect with ourselves and our loved one, moment to moment. As we do so, we can de-stress and at the same time give ourselves and our loved one the chance of experiencing greater well-being.
Mindfulness is not some exotic ritual; in essence, it helps us train our minds to focus on what matters in the moment and to resist distractions. There may be no mental skill more essential in this era of constant distraction.