Saturday, August 25, 2007

Mindfulness in the Present Moment

"The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, nor to worry about the future, but to live the present moment wisely and earnestly".-Buddha

Buddha emphasized the importance of being mindful....being in the present moment. It is also called the "present moment awareness". In Satipatthana sutta he explains how to train yourself to be mindful in each moment in what ever you do. It does not matter if you are standing, sitting, walking, lying down, eating, drinking or even going to the washroom, he said to train yourself to be mindful.
It may sound very easy but in reality you may find it very difficult. Your mind will wonder even before you know it. It is the nature of the conditioned mind. It is also called the "monkey mind" (like a monkey jumping from branch to branch) as stated in some Buddhist texts.

If you like to test this out you may want start in small steps, for example, while brushing the teeth in the morning. Slowly with time and diligent effort you may be able to be mindful for the full length of brushing your teeth. You may eventually try this at other tasks like at work and driving a car. The benefits are that you are less likely to allow your mind to wonder into repeated unnecessary chain of thoughts about the future or the past ("ping-pong mind") which will drain the mind energy. Secondly you are less likely to make a mistake at work or driving and in fact may even save your job or your life.

"In mindfulness I was conscious of the entire process. In this way I practiced contemplation on the body. When standing, I was aware that I was standing, when sitting, there was total knowledge of sitting; and when lying down, the full experience of lying down. By experiencing each moment, my mind clung no more to the world"-Buddha, Samyutta Nikaya

"Do not go after the past,
Nor lose yourself in the future.
For the past no longer exists,
And the future is not yet here.
By looking deeply at things just as they are,
In this moment , here and now,
The seeker lives calmly and freely- Buddha

Mindfulness and the present moment awareness is used in treating depression and anxiety, in mindfulness based cognitive behavioural therapy, and mindfulness based stress reduction (MBSR).
This is also used in treating patients with unhealthy eating practices, that will lead to obesity and other medical illnesses associated with obesity. This method trains you to be totally mindful during eating and drinking. This will be discussed in detail in a future posting.
For now you can browse though these sites:

Also see other related posts:

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