“Live the quarantine fully”. Basic foundations of mindfulness.
I want to share with you a short summary of the book, «Live crises fully. How to use the wisdom of the body and mind to deal with stress, pain and illness ” by Jon Kabat Zinn.
I specifically want to focus on the chapter that talks about “The basic foundations of mindfulness practice” and how much it’s helping me in my daily practice to feel at home these days with a lot of peace of mind and physical and emotional well-being.
How do you feel these days? Are you experiencing stress? What are the consequences of stress?
Stress can deplete our energy reserves, undermine our health, making us more vulnerable to anxiety, depression and illness. This book, which is part of the well-known program that I am finishing in these times of stress reduction based on mindfulness (MBSR or REBAP), has given rise to a new field of medicine and psychology. It shows us how to use medically proven practices derived from yoga and meditation to counteract the effects of stress, restore our mental and body balance, and stimulate wellness and healing.
The constant exercise of mindfulness practices and their integration day after day in our life, can teach us to live better with chronic pain, encourage optimal healing, reduce anxiety and feelings of panic and improve the overall quality of our life, as well as our social relationships.
“We are all capable of cultivating greater mindfulness and greater full love in our lives and benefiting greatly from it” (Jon Kabat-Zinn).
Below, I summarize the 7 attitudes which underlie the practice of mindfulness:
1: Do not prosecute:
Judgments often take the form of constant labeling of each situation (like or dislike, good or bad, love or hate). This offers us a value in terms of survival since it allows us to classify the things and situations that we want to approach and those that we want to avoid.
The first thing we have to do if we want to discover a more effective way of managing the stress in our life is to become aware of the attitude of automatically judging everything to free ourselves from our prejudices and see beyond.
It’s a form of wisdom. It shows that we understand and accept that things unfold at their own pace. It can help us accept the tendency of our minds to wander and remind us that we don’t have to accompany our mind on its excursions. Being aware consists of remaining open to each moment, fully accepting it and knowing that, as with a butterfly, things happen at their own pace.
The experience of the present moment places us in contact with the beauty and richness of life. Many times we let what we “know” prevent us from seeing reality as it is. This may be due to preconceptions, prejudice, or simply mentally living in the past. It’s about looking at the present in a fresh and open way.
As much as we may make some mistakes along the way, it’s a lot better to trust our intuition and our authority rather than always depending on external guidance. Trust is the recognition that we cannot be in control of every little detail of our life and that, since we cannot be in control of all these aspects, the most intelligent and practical attitude is to precisely trust our being and listen to it.
Almost everything we do points to a goal, to achieve something or to get somewhere. But this attitude, in the case of meditation, is different from any other human activity. The only goal of meditation is to be ourselves and accept, moment by moment, things as they are.
Acceptance is an active acknowledgment that things are the way they are, without an emotional reaction and situating itself in the right moment.
Reality is very stubborn, and maintaining an attitude of resistance to the reality of things is one of the biggest causes of emotional suffering and waste of energy. This doesn’t mean that we have to like everything or that we assume a passive attitude before everything, nor be satisfied with things as they are or tolerate injustice. The acceptance we’re talking about here means seeing things as they really are in order to act appropriately in life.
Letting go is a way of letting things be, that is, of accepting things as they are. Let’s do the same when thoughts come clinging to the past that we cannot change. If we have difficulty letting go of something, because it has a strong power over our mind, we can direct our attention to what it feels like to “hold on” to them. Be an expert in our own attachments and their effects on our lives.
In addition to these 7 fundamental attitudes of mindfulness practice, there are other qualities of our mind and heart that contribute to expanding and deepening their incarnation in daily life:
Generosity, gratitude, non-violence, tolerance, kindness, compassion, empathetic joy and equanimity.
The power of these attitudes is clearly relived by experimenting with them, especially in simple moments.
It’s also very important to bring energy and motivation to our practice. Mindfulness helps us to have full self-attention and sufficient self-discipline to persevere in the process.