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How Mindfulness Living Can Foster Happiness

How Mindfulness Living Can Foster Happiness

Mindfulness is a Buddhist-based concept and practice which is increasingly being incorporated into Western psychological, as well as psychiatric practices.

Mindfulness is being happy, with present moment awareness of what is happening inside and outside of you, relaxing into the moment to find joy, with a non-judgemental, accepting and compassionate attitude. It is present moment awareness of your thoughts, feelings, perceptions and also your outer environment. It focuses on having your mind present in whatever you are doing.

Awareness of one's breath is usually the first step to being mindful because this brings your mind to the present moment. Note that we can only live in the present moment.The opposite of mindfulness is mindlessness. For the majority of people, most of the time, we live mindlessly.

Judgement refers to looking at the behaviours of others and ascribing negative labels to those that may be different from your expectations. You use your values and behaviours as the acceptable standards; others are seen as deviations from what is supposed to be your right perceptions and beliefs. Acceptance in this context does not mean resignation. It means that you are not expecting circumstances to be different, that you are not resisting the flow of events. You accept "what is" as the first step to change it. You accept the "suchness" of things and circumstances. Acceptance can also mean that you are aware of what is within your control and what is outside of your control and you are comfortable with that.

Mindfulness also implies that you are not looking for happiness in some future time, but accessing your inborn capacity to be happy in your present circumstances. You are able to find happiness in the ordinary happenings of everyday life. For examples, mindful breathing, eating and walking can be sources of joy, if done with the spirit of awareness. These forms of meditation can bring about awareness that can transform the activity into joy.

We are human beings not human doings.

Mindfulness is like a safety net for out-of-control emotions, such as anger, which is often based on the perception of injustice or unfairness. The practice of mindfulness helps us to manage these difficult emotions so they don't overtake us to the point where we become very reactive and therefore make poor choices in terms of our behaviour. 

Buddha was once accosted by a group of Brahmins of the day, “What have you gained from meditation?” they asked. He replied, “Nothing. However, let me tell you what I have lost- anger, anxiety, depression, insecurity, fear of old age and death.”

Being mindful can be a source of happiness; it is a powerful way of being which is different from the doing mode of existence. So much of our lives is spent in the "doing" mode that we think that we also have to do something to relax and be happy ...often adding more stress to our otherwise busy lives. Let us remember that we are "human beings" not "human doings".

While mindfulness promotes happiness, it is important to note that it is not hedonism in the sense of sensual self-indulgence. The focus of mindfulness is to bring more joy, happiness and balance into our lives by helping us to be less reactive and enjoying our lives through our experiences.

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Monday, 22 April 2024

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