Mindfulness is a shift in the way that you pay attention but through that subtle shift your entire world can transform from the inside out.
When it comes to mindfulness there is understanding it, and then there’s knowing it directly through your own experience.
You might not understand mindfulness as a concept yet but I can virtually guarantee you you’ve already experienced mindfulness if you can you remember a time when you were totally engaged in an activity.
You weren’t thinking about the bills or work or the things you needed to do later, every part of your being was focused in the moment maybe you caught your breath at a exquisite sunrise or maybe you experienced it spontaneously when you were surfing or climbing a mountain or simply alone in nature.
Yogi’s and dancers know mindfulness when they lose themselves in the joyful movement of the body and artists know it when they’re absorbed in the act of creation when we find ourselves in these moments a deep sense of connectedness for life suddenly emerges everything feels alive radiates energy and emanate sacredness.
Scientists now concur with what wisdom traditions have long been telling us that the keys to fulfilment and to true well-being lay not in the external circumstances of our lives but the internal the state of our minds and the quality of our consciousness.
Mindfulness is, in fact, the hub structure of all wisdom culture throughout history it’s the basis for all spiritual discipline ever presented and more importantly the answer to sincere and permanent realisation and fulfilment.
There are three components to mindfulness, three ways in which our attention shifts gears.
Firstly our attention is held on purpose, mindfulness requires a conscious and very deliberate conduct of our awareness. So when you are being mindful you could say that it is the complete opposite of being set in an autopilot mode (which unfortunately for so many of us is the normal state of being most of the day). Unfortunately when we’re on autopilot the mind is really noisy it natters away endlessly with all sorts of useless nonsense. When you truly discover mindfulness, it will allow you to wake up from the “autopilot” and directs you to hold your attention where you consciously direct it.
The second component of mindfulness is that we are immersed in the present moment, if we abandon our mind to its own thoughts it will inevitably wonder further away from your present moment, as it gets caught up in reviving past thoughts and projects them into the future. In other words our minds are very rarely working fully on present moments in our lives. Mindful attention is completely focused on the present moment experiencing life as it exists right here and right now.
Thirdly when practicing mindfulness our thoughts are held non-judgmentally and without criticism toward ourselves or others. Mindfulness aims to not to control or suppress our thoughts, we simply aim to pay attention to our experiences without judging or labelling or making stories about them. Mindfulness permits us to become a “onlooker” of your perceptions, thoughts and emotions as they happen, without getting caught up in them and being swept away in their current.
When you’re able to live mindfully you can literally transform your entire world from the inside out and from that place live in harmony with yourself and in harmony with the world around you.
CBT and Mindfulness
There are a number of therapy approaches that include mindfulness training as part of talk therapeutic practices. Mindfulness-integrated Cognitive Behaviour Therapy or MiCBT is a relative newcomer to modern psychotherapy, and at times it can be confusing to understand the differences between mindfulness and CBT. For this reason it is best to think of mindfulness as a collaborative component to therapeutic conversations. By integrating and adapting mindfulness strategies into CBT and vice versa patients are able to experience a softer more realistic and relatable experience from psychotherapeutic conversations.
Cognitive behavioural therapy or CBT is the bread and butter of all psycho therapeutic modalities this is because it’s one of the few empirically valid talk therapeutic practices proven in clinical trials to effectively treat addictions, depression and anxiety.
Certain fundamental aspects of CBT have been identified in various ancient philosophical traditions particularly in stoicism the stoic philosopher Epictetus believed that logic could be used to identify and discard false beliefs that lead to destructive emotions.
This influenced the way modern CBT therapists identify cognitive distortions that contribute to depression and anxiety CBT was originated from Aaron Beck in cognitive therapy which was later developed into CBT and Albert Ellis who created rational emotive behaviour therapy or our EBT and came up with the ABC method let’s look at an example of this starting with the activating event.
Simply put, our emotions are our guides and tell us what to pay attention to for our growth, what we need to integrate, and ultimately who we are. Just as many ancient traditions surmised. Problem is we’ve been disconnected from our emotional selves from a young age and we end up in trouble because we’ve never learned to process our emotions at all. We just suppress them with drugs and addictions.