Mindfulness Meditation

A lot of this is me writing out my ideas for my senior thesis. If you’re curious to see this organic process check it out ūüôā and try some on yourself.

Mindfulness Meditation Tasks

(1) 3 minute breathing

Definition of Mindfulness Meditation (a la MBSR)?
“The nonjudgemental awareness of experiences in the present moment” – Jon Kabat Zinn (1990)

Two component model suggested by Bishop et al. (2004): 1) regulation of attention on the immediate experience (includes thoughts, emotions, and body sensations) 2) approaching one’s experiences with curiosity, openness, and acceptance

Seven attitudinal factors (Jon Kabat Zinn, 1990):

“Toc ultivate meditative awareness requires an entirely new way of looking at the process of learning. Since thinking that we know what we need and where we want to get are so ingrained in our minds, we can easily get caught up in trying to control things to make them turn out ‘our way,’ the way we want them to. But this attitude is antithetical to the work of awareness and healing.” (Zinn 1990)

1. Non-judging: being an impartial witness to your own experience, stepping back from the stream of judgements in our minds and recognizing it. Neutral things/people/events are usually tuned out of our awareness since they’re deemed to be “boring” – what if we paid full attention to the neutral instead?

2. Patience = wisdom to understand and accept that sometimes things must unfold in their own time (i.e. don’t force feed a pokemon rare candies just so it’ll evolve. Must train naturally. i.e. don’t pull apart a butterfly’s cocoon, especially if you have a fear of bugs). Don’t get irritated that your mind is judging or daydreaming and nothing “has improved”. Instead provide¬†the space¬†to have these experiences. “Why? Because we are having them anyway! Why rush through some moments to get to other, ‘better’ ones?”. Our monkey mind has a life of its own and the past/future thinking exerts a strong physical pull on our awareness and cause a disconnection with the present experience.

3. Beginner’s Mind = we tend to let our biases and beliefs about what we know prevent us from seeing things as they really are. “We take the ordinary for granted and miss how extraordinary it is”. Thus, must cultivate a mindset as if we’re seeing everything for the first time.

4. Trust = It’s important to learn how to trust your intuition and inner voice rather than listening to authoritative figures or outside guidance, even if there might be a few mistakes along the way. Honor your thoughts and feelings, don’t discount them because of someone who says differently. Practice this personal honoring and trust in meditation and yoga. Some people get caught up in the reputation and authority of their teachers and disregard their own inner voice. Don’t try to imitate someone else and instead follow your own path. “Teachers and books and tapes can only be guides and signposts. It is important to be open and receptive to what you can learn from other sources, but ultimately you must live your own life.”

5. Non-striving =In life we do everything because we want to think it gets us somewhere. This attitude can be an obstacle in mindfulness meditation. Rather than thinking that the meditation will relax you, change you, etc., approach it with the idea that there is no where you need to go, no one you have to be, and that we’ll just see what happens (and if nothing happens, who cares? It’s chill). Ironically takes a lot of work to develop this mindset that you just have to be yourself. Though people are sent to the clinic by doctors because “something’s wrong”, MBSR teachers ask students to name three goals, then encourage the students to not make any progress towards their goals over the eight weeks.

6. Acceptance =¬†using so much energy for denial and/or anger leaves very little room for accepting and growing. Think of things as being something at this moment in time. Now is the only time you have for anything. It is a common misunderstanding that acceptance is a form of passivity and abandonment of values. You don’t have to resign and tolerate things as “they have to be”. You should still try to break through self-destructive habits, but with a different attitude. “Acceptance as we are speaking of it simply means that you have come around to a willingness to see things as they are.” With a clearer picture in mind, then you will know how to act/listen to your inner convinction.

7. Letting go =¬†when we see our minds attaching itself or pushing away certain thoughts/feelings, remind ourselves to let go of the impulses, and instead just see what will happen when we do. We practice non-attachment. If something is very hard to let go of because it has a strong hold on our mind, direct your attention to the feeling of “holding on”. We can become experts on our own attachments.

– sitting meditation, walking meditation, mindful movements

Benefits

Psychiatric: Anxiety, depression, substance abuse, chronic pain

Physical Health: Immune function, blood pressure, cortisol levels, telomerase activity

Psychological Wellbeing: healthy participants,

Resources

Quotes from Jon Kabat Zinn’s book, “Full Catastrophe Living” (1990)

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