Mindfulness Meditation – Beginner’s Mind
Mindfulness meditation is a technique researched and popularized in the United States by Jon Kabat-Zinn, Ph.D. It involves focusing on the present moment, acknowledging thoughts as they come up, and observing them without judgment or interaction. Be aware of the thoughts that are there but don’t try to determine whether they are helpful or hurtful thoughts, just that they are there. Pay attention to what is happening in your body and mind at the same time it actually is happening.
Kabat-Zinn says that in order to use “mindfulness practice or meditative awareness,” you must be open and receptive to learning by doing the following:
* Be nonjudging and patient.
* Nurture the beginners’ mind–as though you are seeing everything for the first time.
* Learn to trust yourself and your feelings.
* Let your mind take you where it wants to go.
* Be accepting; he calls this “creating the precondition for healing.” Take each moment as it comes and be open and receptive to whatever happens.
* Let go. Just be and accept things as they are.
Stephen Levine says we should be mindful of our difficulties so that we are aware. Without awareness, we would not be able to correct the problem. He uses anger as an example. “Work with anger is to be as mindful as possible as soon as possible when we notice the first wave, the first ripple of anger.” Of course, you must first identify the behavior you would like to change so that you can be aware of making a change.
Adapted from Integrative Therapies for Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and Myfascial Pain, by Celeste Cooper, R.N. et. al (Healing Arts Press, 2010).