Table of contents:
- Ancient wisdom
- Mindfulness is a new scientific construct and method of treatment
- Mindfulness-based stress reduction
Video: Realize And Stop Suffering - Self-development
How is it that humanity is constantly suffering? Why, despite all the achievements of science and culture, people continue to fight, be sad, angry and tormented? One of the reasons is the relationship with your experiences. We allow thoughts to fill our inner space until they get out of control and begin to control our behavior.
One of the most ancient and at the same time relevant today ways of getting rid of inner suffering is the practice of meditation and the development of awareness. The goal of these techniques, literally tested over thousands of years, is to eliminate unnecessary suffering by developing an understanding of the nature of consciousness and the material world. A person who practices mindfulness actively works with different states of consciousness to remain peaceful no matter what happens.
To do this, you need to develop three main skills:
- 1. Mindfulness. By simply being aware of what is happening in and around us, we can begin to separate ourselves from being absorbed in thoughts and complex emotions.
- 2. Attention. Instead of trying to control or suppress intense emotions, we can redirect our attention, and this helps us regulate how we feel.
- 3. Recollection. It is important to remember that you can be aware and direct attention, and in this process, intention is of great importance. At every moment in time, you can remind yourself: "Do not forget - be aware."
This practice begins with the fact that you sit in silence with your eyes closed and your back straight and meet face to face with yourself: your physical sensations, emotions and thoughts. When a person begins to meditate, he admits - perhaps for the first time in his life - that he is constantly immersed in a continuous stream of thoughts that are born against his will, one after another and replace each other at the speed of light.
Mindfulness is a new scientific construct and method of treatment
In the 1960s, many Americans and Europeans began to take an interest in Eastern practices, travel to Asia and study under the guidance of eminent meditation teachers and instructors. Years passed, and many of these seekers became scientists: biologists, psychologists, philosophers, neurophysiologists. They have dedicated their lives to researching how meditation affects the functioning and structure of the brain and how it relates to other schools of thought such as Chinese Taoism, Ancient Greek Stoicism, or, for example, the pragmatism of William James. Mindfulness has become actively used in psychotherapy.
Thanks to this mutual exchange and modern research, a new term has been born, which is commonly used in the world community in the English version - mindfulness. According to Scott R. Bishop, one of the leading researchers in this field, “Mindfulness is the self-regulation of the processes of attention, designed to keep its focus on momentary experiences and, therefore, opens up opportunities for more accurate recognition of mental phenomena at any given time” (Bishop et al., 2004).
Mindfulness-based stress reduction
One of the first researchers who began to apply the practice of mindfulness to work with psychological problems was the American scientist, Doctor of Biological Sciences, Professor at the University of Massachusetts John Kabat-Zinn. In 1979, he created the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, or MBSR (Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction) program. He has adopted this program in his stress reduction clinic, and now there are more than 200 centers and institutions around the world where mindfulness practices and ideas are used for therapeutic and research purposes.
The MBSR program looks like this:
- 8 weeks,
- 2-3 hours a week,
- up to 30-35 people in a group,
- 45 minutes of self-practice at home every day,
- one day retreat (usually a retreat) in silence.
These courses are designed for people who are under stress, experiencing breakups or conflicts in relationships, dissatisfaction at work, difficulty making decisions, and professional burnout. Participants who have completed the MBSR program begin to experience more positive emotions, their fatigue and anxiety decrease, and their quality of life increases. According to self-reports, these people start to feel wiser, open to learning, creative, empathetic. They become more aware of their own well-being.
Unfortunately, this method is not magic and is not suitable for everyone. Many people do not feel the positive effects on themselves, and this is partly due to the fact that the training process itself is very difficult. It requires self-discipline, effort, and sincerity - primarily with oneself. Therefore, one of the main factors in the effectiveness of MBSR is customer motivation. The stronger your intention to benefit from the course, the more effective it will be for you.
The difficulty is that it is impossible from the outside to evaluate and track the meticulous work that takes place in the mind and helps to establish a certain quality of attention and awareness. As a guideline, John Kabat-Zinn suggested seven attitudes to consider when teaching mindfulness:
- Non-judgmental (not separating experiences into positive and negative, right and wrong, appropriate and inappropriate).
- Patience (over and over again to return attention to current experiences, wherever thoughts take our consciousness).
- The beginner's mind and curiosity about what is happening (research interest in relation to one's own inner world).
- Trust (understanding that the body and mind are naturally capable of self-regulation).
- Self -friendliness (gentleness and solicitude for your experiences, lack of criticism if difficulties arise during practice).
- Non-reactive position of the observer (maintaining habitual behavior, which usually occurs automatically in response to certain experiences).
- Acceptance (understanding that difficulties and painful experiences are common to all people and therefore do not deserve condemnation).
- Letting go (the ability to choose how much this or that experience is worthy of attention, and to switch to other contents of consciousness by an effort of will).
Initially, Kabat-Zinn began using these attitudes when working with people experiencing chronic pain, and later it turned out that the same ways of working apply to psychological problems. It turned out that a non-judgmental attitude towards one's painful sensations, a curious observation, devoid of intolerance and a desire to get rid of pain as soon as possible, leads to significant relief of the condition.
Three mindfulness exercises
This is due not so much to the physiological indicators of pain as to the emotional rejection that patients are used to experiencing about their feelings. During these eight weeks, people find themselves face to face with their pain and learn to deal with it with acceptance. This helps develop endurance and tolerance for suffering, and it begins to take away less and less mental resources needed to continue a fulfilling and happy life.