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Mindfulness Meditation is about keeping the mind in the here and now or being present in all the elements of everyday life.
Mindfulness practitioners, sometimes refer to it as sitting, because on the surface that’s all there is to it.
One sits in a comfortable position, and focuses on breathing. The practice is a gentle one. If the mind wanders, the distracting thoughts are merely noted, and mind is gently coaxed back with no remorse or judgment, much as one would encourage a wayward puppy.
Unlike other disciplines where one tries to transcend the self, a meditator engaged in mindfulness notes every sensation and considers it part of the process of self-discovery.
Today, mindfulness meditation is a path used in therapies of various kinds, but the path has been traveled for many years.
Buddha – Where it All Began
Mindfulness meditation has been around since The Fifth Century B.C., and is based on one of the main tenets of Buddha. Buddha was born Siddhartha Gautama.
Buddha means “enlightened one,” and is the name given to him after years of mediation and the realization that the only path to awakening is through one’s own direct experience and not through any set of beliefs or dogmas.
When he set out to spread the word, he spoke not about how he had come to his own awakening, or the need for following any specific beliefs, but rather how each person could realize his own enlightenment.
Buddha emphasized that he came not to found a religion, but to free the world of suffering, and he believed the key to all suffering was attachment.
Buddha based his beliefs on four basic truths:
- Life is suffering
- The root of suffering is attachment to the perfect image of what should be
- It is possible to reach a state where suffering ceases, called Nirvana
- The way to Nirvana is by following an eight fold path
One point on this path, as explained on godweb.com is “right mindfulness.” It would be centuries before the mindful path would be adapted to therapy practices.
Zinn is the founder of the Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction Program at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center. His translation boils it down succinctly: Mindfulness means paying attention on a particular way; on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally.