Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us. While mindfulness is something we all naturally possess, it’s more readily available to us when we practice on a daily basis.
Whenever you bring awareness to what you’re directly experiencing via your senses, or to your state of mind via your thoughts and emotions, you’re being mindful. And there’s growing research showing that when you train your brain to be mindful, you’re actually remodeling the physical structure of your brain.The goal of mindfulness is to wake up to the inner workings of our mental, emotional, and physical processes.
It is about experiencing the world that is firmly in the ‘here and now.’ This mode is referred to as the being mode. It offers a way of freeing oneself from automatic and unhelpful ways of thinking and responding. Mindfulness is the energy that helps us recognize the conditions of happiness that are already present in our lives.
Mindfulness is when you are truly there, mind and body together. You breathe in and out mindfully, you bring your mind back to your body, and you are there. When your mind is there with your body, you are established in the present moment. Then you can recognize the many conditions of happiness that are in you and around you, and happiness just comes naturally
Meditation is defined by H. P. Blavatsky as a practice to attain “a state of abstraction which carries the ascetic practising it far above this plane of sensuous perception and out of the world of matter.” Mme. Blavatsky did not consider that by placing our attention on the breathing can be attained a profound state of meditation.
Meditation is a discipline involving the management of the mind, the cultivation of concentration and one-pointedness, and is initially intended to harmonize the various components of the self. Such internal harmony will bring about a condition where the individual may draw closer to the spiritual level of being.
In his hours of silent meditation the student will find that there is one space of silence within him where he can find refuge from thoughts and desires, from the turmoil of the senses and the delusions of the mind. By sinking his consciousness deep into his heart he can reach this place — at first only when he is alone in silence and darkness. But when the need for the silence has grown great enough he will turn to seek it even in the midst of struggle with self, and he will find it. Only he must not let go of his outer self, or his body; he must learn to retire into this citadel when the battle grows fierce but to do so without losing sight of the battle; without allowing himself to fancy that by so doing he has won the victory. That victory is won only when all is silence without as within the inner citadel. Fighting thus, from within that silence, the student will find that he has solved the first great paradox. (CW VIII:127-8)
Most systems of meditation employ similar basic procedures. A place that is quiet and free from interruption is to be used. One sits cross-legged, a position known as the lotus posture; if that position is not possible for some physical reason, then one may sit in a chair with the spine straight and hands on knees (called the Egyptian posture). Breathing is to be slow and deep; the breath is observed and this act of attention serves to concentrate the mind. After a time attention is shifted from the breath to the mind itself; the occurrence of thought is noted non-judgmentally from a position of detachment. With practice it becomes possible to reduce the activity of the mind and focus it on some appropriate symbol or ideal. As one attempts to concentrate the mind on the chosen symbol or mantra it frequently wanders away; one gently and without judgment brings the mind back to the chosen subject. Some systems begin and end the meditation by sounding the mantra “aum” and perhaps offering blessings on all living things.
Blavatsky’s Diagram of Meditation. H. P. Blavatsky taught a system of meditation to her pupils that consists of specific acquisitions and deprivations:
First conceive of UNITY by expansion in Space and infinite in Time. Then meditate logically and consistently on this in reference to States of Consciousness. Then the normal state of our consciousness must be molded by Three Acquisitions:
1. Perpetual presence in imagination in all Space and Time. From this originates a substratum of memory which does not cease in dreaming or waking. Its manifestation is courage. With memory of universality all dread vanishes during the dangers and trials of life.
2. A continued attempt at an attitude of mind to all existing things which is neither love, hate, nor indifference. Different in external activity to each because in each the capacity alters. Mentally the same to all. Equilibrium and constant calm. Greater ease in practicing the “virtues” which are really the outcome of wisdom. For benevolence, sympathy, justice, etc. arise from the intuitive identification of the individual with others, although unknown to the personality.
3. The perception in all embodied beings of limitation only. Criticism without praise or blame.
Acquisition is completed by the conception “I am all Space and Time.” Beyond that . . . it cannot be said.
1. Separations and meetings, association with places; times and forms, futile longings, expectations, and memories and broken heartedness.
2. The distinction between friend and foe, resulting in anger or bias — replaced by judgment.
3. Possessions. Greed, selfishness, ambition.
4. Personality. Vanity, remorse.
5. Sensation. Gluttony, lust, etc.
These deprivations are produced by the perpetual imagination — without self-delusion — of “I am without. . . .” The recognition of their being the source of bondage, ignorance and strife. (There is no risk of self-delusion if the personality is deliberately forgotten.)
Deprivation is completed by the meditation “I am without attributes.” All passions and virtues interblend with each other.
Although such persons as Blavatsky (CW XII:615) and Ernest Wood (Raja Yoga: the Occult Training of the Hindus) wrote approvingly of Raja Yoga, the Theosophical Society does not impose or urge any particular system of self-culture on its members; members are free to choose or not to choose any method.
“Mindfulness is awareness that arises through paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally,” says Kabat-Zinn. “And then I sometimes add, in the service of self-understanding and wisdom.”
Mindfulness is a type of meditation in which you focus on being intensely aware of what you’re sensing and feeling in the moment, without interpretation or judgment. Practicing mindfulness involves breathing methods, guided imagery, and other practices to relax the body and mind and help reduce stress.
Scientists have discovered that mindfulness techniques help improve physical health in a number of ways. Mindfulness can: help relieve stress, treat heart disease, lower blood pressure, reduce chronic pain, , improve sleep, and alleviate gastrointestinal difficulties among the multiples benefits.