The Mindfulness Solution
Human life is undoubtedly difficult since many problems arise during it. Undesirable changes and losses occur in day-to-day lives. People concern about their health, family, and well-being that inevitably evokes emotional suffering. They tend to imagine their future, rather than appreciate what they have at the present moment. The mindfulness meditation helps people perceive their life in a different way. Ronald Siegel comprehensively describes simple techniques of meditation in his book The Mindfulness Solution. Everyone can practice it whereas meditation does not require much time. This paper will explore the different types of mindfulness meditation and explain the benefits of the practice of mindfulness exercises while dealing with everyday problems.
The mindfulness meditation developed in Buddhist tradition thousands of years ago. It aimed to eliminate unhealthy habits from the human mind. Many Christian, Muslims, and Jewish practices that promote spiritual growth include the mindfulness. Currently, researchers have proved that regular practice of mindfulness decreases psychological suffering. People may get rid of anxiety, worry, depression, and even substance abuse due to the mindfulness meditation.
The mindfulness does not represent the state or content of human mind. Conversely, it refers to human attitude toward one’s experience. Ronald Siegel defines “mindfulness” as “awareness of present experience with acceptance”. It is an ability to notice thoughts and feelings every minute and accept them. Mindlessness prevails in daily human life. For instance, individuals often dream about vacation while perform their tasks at work. They fail to pay attention to their moment-to-moment experience, whereas they ordinarily want to arrive at more pleasant place. Such principle guides human life. People are dissatisfied with their lives and seek pleasure all the time. However, it is not a proper path to happiness.
Mindfulness represents an alternative to mindlessness. Mindfulness helps notice every sensation that arises minute by minute and value the present moment, instead of performing routine activities automatically or expecting better times. It does not reject anything and teach people to recognize and embrace natural order that enriches human life. The process of cultivating mindfulness involve formal mindfulness practice, informal practice, and retreat practice.
Informal mindfulness practice can be used while a person engages in daily activities. People implement it, when they consume the food, wash dishes, or walk. It means that they should pay attention to their physical sensation and feelings. Unlike informal practice, formal mindfulness practice requires a certain period of time. People should determine the time, when they can meditate in silence. It is necessary to practice formal meditation every day. Emotional experience or physical sensation refer to the possible objects of attention during the meditation. Formal meditation is ordinarily practiced in such postures as sitting, walking, lying down, and standing. It helps people become aware of their present experience and accept it. Lastly, retreat practice includes performance of routine tasks in silent that helps notice how the mind produces suffering. It provides a deep insight into specificity of the human mind.
Concentration is the basis of the meditation. Therefore, the practice of mindfulness begins with developing skills to concentrate. A person should select a certain object of attention. It is necessary to avoid the distraction during the process of concentration on chosen object. Any object that a person can perceive is suitable for meditation. Humans may choose a visual object, sensation in their body, sound, or an image in their mind to practice concentration. During informal mindfulness meditation, the object of attention depends on the task that the human perform. For instance, when the person drives, he/ she can choose the image of the cars or road as the object of attention. Besides, human mood and temperament affect the choice of the appropriate object. Diverse objects influence the person’s mind in a different way.
Breath Awareness Meditation, Walking Meditation, Body Scan Meditation, Raisin Meditation, and Eating Meditation refer to meditation techniques that help cultivate mindfulness. They help accept the experience without judgement. Loving-Kindness Meditation is an ancient kind of meditation that develops mindfulness and compassion as well as eliminates the human inclination to judge. Regular practice of this type of meditation contributes to improving human interpersonal relationships.
Everyone can choose needed meditation that is the most useful at the certain period of time. Eventually, humans learn what meditation technique they should apply in a particular situation. Nevertheless, all above-mentioned meditations have a common goal that includes awareness of current experience and its acceptance. Both formal and informal meditations help people face challenging situation in their day-to-day lives. The individuals become free from psychological suffering and recognize true sense of happiness. The mindfulness meditation offers the path to meaningful life.
Violence, accidents, and disasters occur constantly. Every day people learn from the media that something terrible has happened, and such news frighten them. Fear, in its turn, causes a number of unpleasant symptoms including insomnia, back pain, digestive distress, or headache. Human attempt to avoid fear does not diminish it. Vice versa, fear increases, and people feel tense, anxious, and worry. These sensations become more and more intense and thereby, the person cannot get rid of them. Moreover, people tend to demonstrate poor performance at school or at work, due to strong and prolonged fear.
The practice of mindfulness aims to change adverse feelings and thoughts into more positive ones. Stepping into Fear, Mindfulness of Anxiety in the Body, and Thoughts are just Thoughts are designated for coping with worry and anxiety. These meditations teach to embrace fear, rather than resist it. The mindfulness techniques change the human view of themselves and return them to reality. They help the person perceive his/ her failures and successes less seriously. The practice of mindfulness provides the awareness of human inner feelings and thoughts. As a result, the person can consciously choose proper action.
By practicing mindfulness, people learn to deal with sadness and depression that represent threat to human well-being. Embracing sadness protects the individuals against ongoing depression. Mindfulness of Thinking and Nothing Emotions in the Body refer to the mindfulness-based exercises that people can use in order to observe their current feelings and become less preoccupied with their problems. Thereby, they reach emotional freedom.
Stress represents natural human reaction to unpleasant situations. It causes a series of health disorders, such as digestive troubles, chronic back pain, heart diseases, and insomnia. Worry and fear can increase even a slight pain. It induces negative thoughts and results in anxiety. This feeling, in its turn, enhance muscle tension and thereby, pain intensifies. The mindfulness meditation prevents stress-related health disorders and breaks this chronic pain cycle. Separating the Two Arrows and Monitoring One’s Worried Thoughts are beneficial mindfulness techniques that allow people to get rid of adverse feelings and thoughts as well as accept their pain. Thought Labeling is also effective exercise that helps identify and dismiss troublesome thoughts.
The practice of mindfulness improves human relationships. People begin feeling themselves as a part of the entire world and do not separate themselves from others. “This creates a shift in emphasis from “me” to “us”. Therefore, it is a right way to reduce a number of conflicts and enhance mutual understanding among people. Thanks to the mindfulness meditation, humans learn how respond not reflectively, but skillfully to others. Through practicing the exercise called Me, Myself, and I, people realize the specifics of their personality and feel the union with nature. They understand that everything is interconnected in the universe. Breathing Together is appropriate exercise for close persons since it can deepen the relationships.
Bad habits are the source of suffering in the individuals’ life. The mindfulness meditation is helpful for resisting drug and alcohol abuse, overeating, and gambling. The person learns to make an ethical decision and choose the activities that are not harmful to his/ her health. Motivational interviewing promotes human understanding that intoxicants can destroy both their health and life. Urge Surfing for Cravings is rewarding technique since it decreases temptation to take alcohol or drug.
Age-related changes occur inevitably in the human life. They lead to deterioration of mental and physical abilities. Therefore, people resist these unwanted changes that generate psychological suffering. The mindfulness-based exercises such as Befriending the Changes, Inducing an Illness, and Body Scan Meditation help accept the course of aging as well as embrace age-related illnesses. Besides, Writing My Obituary and Cemetery Contemplation practice induce humans to get rid of the fear of death. They become aware of their impermanence and accept this fact.
In conclusion, the mindfulness meditation is an ancient practice. Currently, it is also helpful while dealing with day-to-day problems. Everyone can apply formal, informal, and retreat mindful practices with the aim to improve the life. Being mindful implies awareness of one’s experience and its acceptance. Many mindfulness-based exercises help people understand and accept the natural order. Regular meditation gives humans emotional freedom. They learn how to accept illness, age-related changes, and even death. Mutual understanding becomes the basis for their relationships with others, thanks to the mindfulness meditation.