Mindful living is
- paying attention on purpose
- to understand one’s experience
- not judging or attaching to an experience,
- and acting in alignment with that understanding.
Mindfulness is a mode of being, which includes awareness, through attention being addressed to the body and mind, of new, wholesome perspectives of oneself and others, thus bringing greater wisdom and compassion to oneself and to society.
The key attitudes of mindfulness as identified
by Jon Kabat-Zinn are:
Being an impartial witness to our own experience. Becoming aware of the constant stream of judging and reacting to inner and outer experience.
A form of wisdom, patience demonstrates that we accept the fact that things sometimes unfold in their own time. Allowing for this.
- Beginner’s Mind.
Remaining open and curious allows us to be receptive to new possibilities and prevents us from getting stuck in the rut of our own expertise.
Developing a basic trust with ourself and our feelings. Knowing it’s OK to make mistakes.
The goal is to be with oneself right here, right now. Paying attention to what is unfolding without trying to change anything.
Seeing things as they are. This sets the stage for acting appropriately in our life no matter what is happening.
- Letting Go.
When we pay attention to our inner experience, we discover there are certain thoughts, emotions and situations the mind wants to hold onto. Letting our experience be what it is right now.
Thankfulness can be expressed towards every moment in our life and our meditation practice: when we experience our body breathing in and out and entrusting ourselves completely to our bodily functions.
We cultivate generosity by surrendering to life and offering to others what would make them happy – time, attention, or good thoughts – not to make ourselves feel better, but to cultivate connectedness with others.
Compassion literally means ‘suffering together’. Researchers define this emotion as the feeling that arises when one is confronted with another’s suffering and feels motivated to relieve that suffering.
Compassion is distinct from empathy and altruism, though the concepts are related.
Empathy refers to our ability to take the perspective of another person and to feel the same emotions.
Compassion occurs when those feelings and thoughts include the desire to help.
Altruism is a kind and selfless behavior often prompted by feelings of compassion.
However, one can feel compassion without acting on it, and altruism isn’t always motivated by compassion.
Scientists have started to map the biological basis of compassion, suggesting its deep evolutionary purpose.
This research has shown that when we feel compassion, our heart rate slows down and we secrete the bonding hormone oxytocin.
The regions of the brain linked to empathy, caregiving, and feelings of pleasure light up. This often results in our wanting to approach and care for other people.