So today is all about the origins of Mindfulness. To understand the practice as a whole, it makes sense to start from the beginning and know where it came from.
If you have anything to add which you feel may be useful to other readers, please comment below because the idea of these posts really is to be as helpful as possible.
Unsurprisingly, the act of meditation and paying attention to the present moment originates from Buddhism. We’ve all seen the traditional image of a Buddha sat crossed legged looking peaceful and relaxed as he meditates. How nice it must be to be able to just sit and have the ability to block out all distractions from daily life, eh? And from Buddhism, Mindfulness was born in 1979 at the University of Massachusetts to treat the chronically ill – and later the mentally ill, as well improving the lives of the healthy.
You do not however, have to be Buddhist to follow Mindfulness. The practice may be based on it, but it’s been adapted over the years to have a positive affect on anybody. Buddhism does however have some fantastic points worth sharing that we could all apply to our everyday lives.
Buddhism follows something called the Eightfold Path; which I personally think would be entirely beneficial to live by. It consists of eight rules or guidelines, all of which I’ve summarised briefly below for you to have a read through.
Right View –
The belief that nothing is permanent and we are all in a constant state of change
Right Intention –
The idea that we should let of what we have identified to cause us suffering
Right Speech –
Practising honest and kind speech
Right Action –
Refraining from aggressive physical actions to oneself or others
Right Livelihood –
Refraining from dishonest or immoral forms of work
Right Effort –
Cultivating an interest that is wholesome, on a physical, emotional and spiritual level
Right Remembering –
Not clinging onto ones own emotions and material objects – Living in the moment
Right Belief –
Bringing all of the above into your daily experience
It’s not as easy as it sounds though, right? It takes a lot of skill and practice to achieve all eight of these properly. We all get frustrated with our everyday lives and find it difficult to comprehend that things can change for the better, we hold on to ideas or people that do us harm, and we physically and emotionally abuse ourselves for being the way we are.
Because that’s what we’re programmed to do. But as Buddhism teaches us, things can change, so why can’t we?
For the next 24 hours, try to live by the Eight Fold Path. Every time you feel helpless or stressed, realise that things won’t always be this way. Live for the moment, be kind to yourself and others, and if there’s anything in your life you have identified as damaging to yourself – remove it.
I will be exploring the idea of Mindfulness for the rest of this week, so please check out my future and previous posts on the subject, and don’t be afraid to comment on here or email me if you would like further information.
Wednesday: Who should use Mindfulness
Thursday: What Mindfulness does to help you
Friday: Does Mindfulness actually work? Pros and Cons
Saturday: Success stories
Sunday: My experiences with Mindfulness
I hope you found this useful, and I’ll be back tomorrow with Who should use Mindfulness,