In recent years, there has been a growing interest in mindfulness for research, therapy and general people. Mindfulness is a science developed around 3,500 years back. In ancient pali language, it was called as sati. Mindfulness was popular before Buddha, but Buddha formalized it and popularized it among common people. In modern Western society, mindfulness has been adapted for use in treatment of stress and depression, especially preventing dementia and alzheimer’s and for assisting with emotional regulation.
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is relaxing with present moment awareness. The boy in the picture is relaxing and mindfully maintaining the balance. Relaxation and balancing is the key to mindfulness. The mind of the boy is spacious – not attached to the task on hand, but he is not away from the task. He is performing his task with relaxation, joy and mindfulness. Mindfulness is paying non-judgmental attention to the present moment. Mindfulness involves stopping, paying attention, becoming aware of present moment realities, and not judging whatever is happening as ‘good’ or ‘bad’. When thoughts arise, acknowledge them, let them be, and bring your attention back to the task. Again and again, your attention will wander. As soon as you realize this has happened, gently acknowledge it, note what distracted you, and bring your attention back to the task on hand. Mindful eating, mindful walking are the simplest way to start mindfulness.
Seven Factors of Mindfulness
The seven factors of mindfulness are as follows:
1. Am I breathing?
2. Am I thirsty?
3. Am I noticing the smell of the air ?
4. Am I noticing the color, shape and texture of the things?
5. Am I noticing the activities of my body parts?
6. Am I noticing the activities of my mind?
7. Am I noticing the sensations in the body parts?
Ask these seven questions repeatedly to yourself and you will be grounded to the present moment. These seven questions are the seven factors of mindfulness. It is not that you have to ask the questions in sequence. Ask any question and just know the answer with equanimity and the life will take care every other things. There are about 200 scientific articles on the effectiveness of mindfulness meditation. Scientist observed that mindfulness practice reduces stress and decreases volume of grey matter in the amygdala.