Definition of Mindfulness
To be mindful would mean that you are in the present moment, with full awareness, conscious attention, and without judgment. It is one of those things that is, in essence, simple, but behind which lies a long history and science.
Mindfulness has been explained and defined by many practitioners and teachers. I made a compilation of few definitions that, in my opinion, give a clear picture to anyone who may have heard about this practice for the first time;
“Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us” (“What Is Mindfulness?,” 2014).
“Mindfulness shows us what is happening in our bodies, our emotions, our minds, and in the world. Through mindfulness, we avoid harming ourselves and others.”
Thich Nhat Hanh
“Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally.”
“Mindfulness is the aware, balanced acceptance of the present experience. It isn’t more complicated than that. It is opening to or receiving the present moment, pleasant or unpleasant, just as it is, without either clinging to it or rejecting it.”
Mindfulness through history and tradition
Because of the many psycho-physical benefits, Mindfulness is a practice that is performed broadly, and today it has become trendy. It is a practice that has historically been traced back thousands of years through many religious and secular traditions from Hinduism, Buddhism to the practice of yoga, and various meditative exercises.
The practice of Mindfulness has been traced for thousands of years, through the oldest religious tradition - Hinduism, through the Bhagavad Gita and Vedic meditations, and later on through Buddhism, which has established most of its recent history.
Hinduism and Buddhism have a lot in common. Buddhism originated on the foundations of Hinduism; they emerged in the same region and are both related to the concept of dharma. Dharma, although difficult to define, in simple terms, means "the right way of life" and "the path of righteousness", a life that is in harmony and alliance with the natural laws of the Universe.
Yoga is also closely associated with Mindfulness, as it emphasizes the importance of conscious presence in one's body. Research has shown that yoga practitioners have a higher level of Mindfulness than people who don't practice yoga.
Perhaps the highest merit of transferring this valuable practice from the East to the West and its further development into what is today considered to be the practice of Mindfulness was Jon Kabat-Zinn. Kabat-Zinn learned from several Buddhist teachers (including well known Thich Nhat Hanh), and the critical moment was when he connected the practice with Western science. He developed his famous Mindfulness-based stress reduction program and later Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy.
Nowadays, the emergence of numerous empirical academic papers and studies analyzing the concept of Mindfulness and how its practice can be beneficial for improving the quality of life grew higher public awareness and interest.
Mindfulness has continued to evolve over the last decades into a widespread practice, which we, today, associate with many fields, and practice in various ways. Practitioners in multiple fields study the synergies of Mindfulness with other methods, using and studying its psychological benefits in a variety of areas.
The practice of Mindfulness, through the Buddhist concept, emphasizes 3 essential purposes, namely three goals:
1. Knowing the mind
The mind itself is responsible for most of our suffering through egocentrism, attachment, and discrimination. This suffering comes from the fact that we do not see the nature of things as they are.
When we look at things without judgment, we can see their true nature. From this perspective, our motives, reactions, feelings will be much more evident to us. We will be much more meta-aware.
2.Training the mind
Man has an essential and powerful ability to shape his mind - by training. Buddhism propagates that we train non-judgment with ourselves. Separating ourselves from useless negative thoughts that we often cling to, like anger, condemnation, fear, etc., helps us to see more clearly the true nature of things. By training, we become more "aware" of our thoughts, feelings, and motives and begin to explore ways that we can be better, more forgiving, and more generous to ourselves and others.
3. Freeing the mind
It focuses on releasing the mind from attachments and the capacity that each one of us has in releasing from those attachments. Buddha states that only in alliance with nature we can be free. According to Buddhism, everything always changes, emerges, and disappears, and everything happens in its natural cycles, independent of our personal experience. The cognition that we are all a part of that nature, which it simply is, will free the mind. Freedom of the mind begins with pure awareness that there is no permanent pleasure based on our senses because everything is always in change.
What does science say?
The practice of Mindfulness has grown tremendously since the 1980s until today, and it is continuing to grow. Through numerous researches, science has shown that Mindfulness has excellent benefits, especially in the field of positive psychology. It is showing significant benefits in the following areas: the capacity of learning and memory, increasing metacognitive awareness (the ability to consciously detach from emotions and mental processes that are by their nature transient categories), dealing with depressive states, lowers anxiety, raises self-esteem, decreases emotional reactivity, improves visual attention, concentration and selective attention skills, reduces stress, helps with physical and emotional pain, and generally helps raise the quality of your life.
Access to Mindfulness through sound therapy
Sound therapy generally works to calm distressful thoughts and balance your psycho-physical functions. The moment you are in a point of inner balance and harmony, it is easier to become aware of the present moment and, as an impartial observer, to allow yourself to be. You are part of nature, and nature is part of you. The 'nature' of life is that it just is, and the 'nature' of us is that we are. To see the beauty in the simplicity of the present moment, which is in constant change, and to accept it as such is one of the most significant challenges and skills of living.
As a sound therapist in the Mindfulness Sound Therapy approach, I designed and implemented particular frequencies from the high gamma spectrum (40Hz +) to encourage faster brain impulse activity and achieve quick but at the same time relaxed information flow. It stimulates the dominant activity of the frontal lobe of the brain that controls cognitive skills in humans, such as emotional expression, problem-solving, memory, language, judgment, sexual behavior.
In addition to the implemented frequencies, there are a variety of sound elements in this program that open the door to more awareness, presence, and positive emotions. For its beneficial effects and based on my practice so far, I find that sound is an excellent tool in attaining a state of mind that Mindfulness propagates.
Check out Sonic Pill Mindfulness sound therapy at www.sonicpills.eu
Can the practice of Mindfulness be harmful?
Although practicing Mindfulness is simple and can be trained at any time, individually and in groups, as in any other practice, approach it profoundly and responsibly. If you decide to practice Mindfulness through another method, consult a therapist for advice. In the case of mindfulness practice through sonic pill sound therapy, for best results, be sure to read and follow the therapy instructions.