Mindfulness and well-being
We live in an accelerated world, where many times our focus is on the outside: on how we show ourselves to the world and on our interest in wanting to fit in.
We criticize, compare and obsess to demonstrate and produce in a frame of endless self-demand that leaves us exhausted.
An acceleration that, although it depends on the glasses with which one looks at reality, seems to be on the rise in 21st century society.
Increasingly, a frantic pace seems to be settling in our society that promotes lives full of automatism that contribute to increasing our internal chaos or mental bustle. In this way, we are moving away from serenity, silence, peace of mind and, ultimately, well-being.
The proposals of Mindfulness are an invitation to connect with ourselves taking the focus of attention inside. Stop focusing only on what happens on the outside and react (without questioning) giving only as valid our perception.
These proposals are, an invitation to observe the present moment, the here and now as it is. In this present reality, lives the body, emotions, thoughts and reality or context in which one is.
This is my story: I began to deepen in this field not so much by curiosity, but rather by the need to seek answers and resources to heal me.
More than seven years ago my life took a turn; the death of my father and then a serious illness were the triggers that invited me or rather forced me to stop. Through a look of curiosity and restlessness to know more and look for other ways of being in the world.
So, little by little and with the help of different teachers and professionals, I started both in Spain and in India, approaching different techniques and disciplines of meditation and yoga in order to understand myself more and cultivate a greater state of presence. Slowly Mindfulness and its way of life, entered my life.
Mindfulness is one of the first translations of the word Sati. This, could be translated as a “remember”. Thus, the words Mindfulness or Sati, invite us to “remember” or “remind ourselves” of being present and return again and again to the here and now.
The most widespread proposal was the one that the scientist Jon Kabat-Zinn introduced in the late seventies in the medical model after developing and creating a clinic in Massachusetts to reduce pain and stress in his patients and improve your quality of life. “Pay attention intentionally to the present moment, without judging” This is one of the definitions of this concept provided by Kabat-Zinn.
However, although it popularized or approached these millenary practices to the eye of science and allowed to verify its benefits; there are many traditions that contemplate diverse practices that encourage internal silence and peace of mind for greater well-being.
Within the framework of Mindfulness, we often speak of formal practices (conscious activities that we plan and that have a beginning and an end) and informal practices (daily actions executed with awareness) that are increasingly spontaneous and the result of work or practice. This combination of both is what allows little by little to become aware of the present reality and allows one to enter or develop one’s life without forcing, cultivating a state of flow or flow as the psychologist Mihály Csíkszentmihályi presented in his theory that leads to the same name and that links with the term “happiness”.
Mindfulness allows us to flow with life, this attitude that refrains from forcing and that accepts with openness, kindness and curiosity the present reality. However, we can not afford to be in the present moment and flow with life without acceptance. This is one of the key items of this attitude or state of presence that allows us to understand and act without automatism in the here and now. The beginner’s mind or the curious look, the absence of judgments and kindness among others; they also contribute to this state of presence and peace of the individual.
This set of practices, are devoid of political beliefs, religious dogmas or any socioeconomic condition. In the last decade, in the field of science and mainly by neuroscience, the number of scientific studies that aim to demonstrate the effects and benefits on the brain and body as a result of the practice of such resources have increased .
Thus, thanks to neuroimaging techniques, some of these benefits have been observed, such as pain reduction; the improvement of sleep; an increase in concentration; decrease in aggressiveness or impulsivity; greater emotional management and empathy and improvement of interpersonal relationships.
Mindfulness invites us to accept the present moment as it is, although it does not intend to change anything, it does change as we observe the present moment with absence of judgment, with kindness, curiosity and acceptance. Create spaces of silence, to observe our thoughts and emotions, refrain from identification and reaction of these. Observation to be able to act, choose, respond, from stillness, calm or silence.
Mindfulness therefore helps us to become aware of our feelings, thoughts and emotions or feelings in order to be freer and responsible for our actions. We abandon this “automatic pilot” or impulsive response mechanism to become more aware of our bodily sensations, our emotions and thoughts. We thus cultivate an awareness of what is happening in our Being in the present moment, to approach a creative and responsible response.
Therefore, Mindfulness does not intend to change the symptoms but rather accept them in order to change the look and subjective reading of the experience itself.
Thus, more and more authors defend that this discipline is within the Third Generation Therapies; that unlike the First and Second, are not a model of change but of acceptance.
Through formal and informal practices, we are able to stop and observe. Stop to return to the origin and the observation of the functioning of our mind and also our emotions and interests: what moves us; what brings us well-being and harmony; and what ultimately makes us a better version of ourselves.
The theologian and anthropologist Javier Melloni in an interview talked about the impact on one’s life when we become aware: “if you learn to become aware, you will change places without moving”.
Through silence and pause, one can afford to observe the present internal and external reality; can afford to choose an answer, take responsibility. The perception or gaze changes and the response of the stimuli (external and internal) also.
We stop being robots or automatons of the 21st century lost in space Earth, acting only because it’s the moment; just because it must be like this or only because of ignorance.
Therefore, the set of practices and techniques with which Mindfulness works or one of the so-called third generation therapies aims to calm the mind to see clearly. That is to say, through the various resources spaces of silence are fostered and consequently of observation of this internal space and of the subsequent look towards the outside. To stop identifying with the thoughts that judge and classify the internal and external reality and make us slaves of a wrong perception.
Silence, observe and accept may be, in my opinion, the key starting points to transform our subjective gaze or our relationship with the present moment.
Without any doubt, although one never stops practicing, working and learning – you do not have to lower your guard or rely on the thoughts that you believe and to know everything – it changed my life and for this reason today, I share and divulge this practices.