Friday, October 13, 2006

What is mindfullness ?

Anyone who has ever sat at home, healthy, well fed, surrounded by loved ones, and suffering from intense anxiety will readily agree that peace of mind is the necessary condition for happiness. But how can we possibly learn to have peace of mind when the mind is by nature restless, projecting its wants and fears endlessly into the past and the future?

Think about your favorite activity for a moment. When you are really enjoying something you like, how do you feel? As you listen to your favorite music with full attention, other thoughts and desires fade away. You are simply in the moment. There is contentment - peace. Inevitably, of course, your mind kicks back in. How can you sit and listen to music? You need to clean the house, or think about your job, or get something to eat, or worry about finances, or make a phone call, or any of a thousand things. No longer in the moment, you're off and running.
If you could train your mind to let go of other desires, returning to them when the actual moment has come to do the bills and make the phone call, you would be able to experience peace of mind. The road to peace of mind is through a practice called mindfulness. Its opposite, the state in which the mind is in many places at once, is called mindlessness.

Joan Borysenko


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