001 – Mindfulness Plus Podcast Introduction
An introduction to the Mindfulness+ Podcast followed by an introduction to mindfulness.
- Mindfulness+ is your ‘standard’ mindfulness practice with an opening to the spiritual dimension.
- Mindfulness is defined as “Awareness and acceptance of bodily sensations, things coming in through the senses, feelings, and thoughts in the present moment”.
- Mindfulness isn’t just about remembering to be mindful and mindfulness practice. It’s also about living in a way that’s harmonious and conducive to cultivating a peaceful mind.
- Mindfulness practice starts with awareness.
- It makes sense to accept what you experience, what you’re aware of, because it’s already happened.
- Mindfulness practice is about accepting your own experience rather than what’s out there.
- Mindfulness is a present moment practice.
- It’s very simple to understand what mindfulness is and for most people it’s very difficult to practice and be mindful consistently – hence the need for training.
- The present moment is a powerful place for your mind to reside.
- Mindful practice is about becoming mindful more of the time and being lost in thought less of the time so we can realise all of the wonderful benefits.
Mindfulness is awareness and acceptance of bodily sensations, things coming in through the senses, feelings, and thoughts in the present moment
Full transcript from podcast
Hello, my name is Darren Cockburn and you’re listening to the www.mindfulnessonlinetraining.org podcast. This podcast is going to cover off many different aspects of mindfulness practice and it’s actually more than just mindfulness that I’m going to be covering. It’s what I call Mindfulness+ which is your standard mindfulness practice with an opening to the spiritual dimension. Because when you put those two things together, that’s where the power is, and it’s only through being mindful can you open yourself up and allow something that transcends you to flow through you – so the two go together hand-in-hand.
And when I’m talking about something transcendental I’m talking about true wisdom and unconditional love and kindness – so this is Mindfulness+.
I will be recording and sharing a number of these podcasts over the coming months; possibly years; possibly decades – I don’t know yet – we’ll see where it goes. And there will be your standard, important, helpful, beneficial, mindfulness practices covered. So I’ll be providing a very clear, solid mindfulness training foundation for you. Covering off things like meditation and how you can bring more mindfulness into your daily activities. And I’ll be recording podcasts that will guide you to change your life conditions and reorganize things so it’s easier or even possible for you to be mindful. Because mindfulness isn’t just about remembering to be mindful and mindfulness practice. It’s also about living in a way that’s harmonious and conducive to cultivating a peaceful mind. So these things go together. In order to be more mindful, you work on mindful practices and changes to life conditions. And finally I will be providing some pointers and some ways that you can open yourself up to the spiritual dimension, to the plus, which gives you Mindfulness+.
So there will be these audio podcasts I’m going to be recording. And there’s the website www.mindfulnessonlinetraining.org. And if you visit the website, each podcast will have accompanying text, notes, possibly images to help with your training, with your study, with your practice. So you can use the audio and the website together.
I want to talk for a little while about mindfulness. And I’m going to start by providing you with a definition. There lots of definitions out there for mindfulness and the definition that I use which we’re going to link back to in future podcasts, is that “mindfulness is awareness and acceptance of bodily sensations, things coming in through the senses, feelings, and thoughts in the present moment”. To repeat that, “mindfulness is awareness and acceptance of bodily sensations, things coming in through the senses, feelings, and thoughts in the present moment”.
Let’s break that down and let’s examine the word ‘awareness’, which is really where mindfulness begins. When we’re mindful, we are aware of our present moment experience. When you break that down, it only consists of the things that I mentioned in the definition. If you examine your awareness right now, you will notice that you may be aware we have the option of being aware of sensations in the body. They could be little tingling, aches or pains, they could be your breath – so bodily sensations. That’s the first of the four components.
Secondly, you can be aware of things coming in through the senses. What you can see, what you can hear, what you can taste, what you can touch, what you can smell. You can be aware of that, and that’s the second component.
The third component is awareness of feelings. It could be pleasant, unpleasant, neutral. It could be feelings like happiness, anxiety, grief, or they could be a more general mood. It may feel like a mood that you’re experiencing. There’s feelings and being aware of feelings. That’s the third component.
And then the fourth component is awareness of thoughts. Now you may be at a stage where you can already do this, or this might be something that you’ll be able to do later on. Mindfulness can observe and be aware of thoughts. We can be aware of our own thoughts.
Those four things: bodily sensations, things coming in through the senses, feelings, thoughts – that’s all that our experience, our form-based experience consists of. It may be other realms and other things going on outside of those four areas, but in terms of the things, the stuff, the form that we experience in our awareness, that covers it all. Your whole life experience is really a long sequence of all these different things.
So it all starts with awareness, and your awareness could be quite broad like maybe when you go into a room and you’re aware of lots of things in the room things that you can see, hear, maybe smell etc. Or your awareness can be more refined, it can be concentrating, very specific, like if you was focusing on your breath or the flame of a candle.
With mindfulness we become more aware of our experience, we cultivate awareness, and the other part of mindfulness which follows from awareness is acceptance. When we become aware of something, we have a choice and we can accept what we’re aware of, and mindfulness practice and spiritual practice in general encourages acceptance. Bringing acceptance to what we are aware; bringing acceptance to our experience.
It makes sense to accept what you experience, what you’re aware of, because it’s already happened. Now if you don’t accept it the opposite is to resist it, and I’m sure that you may have experienced this in the past – that something’s happened to you, you’ve seen something, heard something, felt something, even thought something, and then afterwards you say to yourself “that should be the case – I don’t agree with that” so you can resist your experience. Now what you’re doing there when you’re in resistance is it’s like you’re having an argument with the universe, because the universe has arranged things so they’ve happened in a certain way, and you’re sat there or stood there or lying there or whatever you’re doing but you’re saying to yourself “it shouldn’t be like this, it’s bad it’s wrong” – but it is like that.
This is why acceptance is such an important practice and it’s something that I’m going to cover more in future podcasts. Mindfulness encourages us to accept everything, and that’s not saying that we should be passive, it’s not saying that we shouldn’t change things that we don’t agree with or change things to make things better in some way – that’s fine. What it is saying is that whatever happens we accept that it’s happened and that’s how it is. Through doing that we are aligning ourselves with how things are. And even if things aren’t really that good, and sometimes things are difficult. Sometimes things are unpleasant. If something difficult happens, if you become sick, you witness an accident, you know there are certain things happen and they are unpleasant. In order to be at peace in your mind and therefore to do what’s kind and wise and loving, there even needs to be acceptance of those difficult experiences that you have.
Mindfulness practice is about accepting your own experience rather than what’s out there. In a way mindfulness practice isn’t about really about accepting a situation. It’s more accepting your experience about that situation so it could be you accept your own thoughts, you accept how your body might be feeling, you accept emotions that you’re experiencing. We’ll talk more about this later. Mindfulness is really encouraging us to cultivate that acceptance of our direct experience of everything that’s going on.
The final part of the definition refers to the present moment. Mindfulness is a present moment practice. It’s not about being aware of and accepting things that happened in the past or in the future, it’s a real-time thing, so we’re aware of what’s happening now, bodily sensations, things coming in through the senses, feelings, thoughts, we’re aware of what’s happening now, right now, it takes us into the present moment. The acceptance is acceptance of what’s happening now. When we’re mindful we are very much in the present moment so mindfulness practice brings us into the present moment. And the present moment is powerful place for your mind to reside – more about that later.
There we are. That’s what mindfulness practice is about. There are many benefits associated with mindfulness practice. Health benefits, a peaceful mind, it helps with managing anxiety, relationships, you enjoy life a lot more. There are many, many benefits and this is why it’s so popular. This is why people have been practicing it in various shapes and forms for hundreds of years so we’ll come back to benefits because there are quite a few. I’d like to spend more time in a podcast sharing those benefits with you because understanding the benefits of mindfulness really motivates you to practice.
I’m not going to talk about techniques and what you can do to become more mindful. I’m not going to talk about the ‘how’ in this podcast. I just wanted to cover off the ‘what’ and a little bit of the ‘why’. So what is mindfulness? And I know from experience when I’ve trained people that even just understanding what mindfulness is, is part of the practice, and will enable you to become more mindful. Knowing that mindfulness is about awareness of your experience, knowing that mindfulness is about acceptance, knowing that mindfulness is about being in the present moment will help you to do all of that without really knowing how. It’s quite magical how it works and it’s very simple to understand what mindfulness is and for most people it’s very difficult to practice and be mindful consistently.
What we find during the day when we’re awake, and we’ll talk about sleep another time, when we’re awake we tend to go in and out of mindful states. Sometimes we are very aware and accepting and in the present moment, and then other times, we’re lost in our thoughts, lost in our emotions. There are these two modes of the mind that we flip between all day. Mindful practice is about becoming mindful more of the time and being lost in thought less of the time so we can realise all of those wonderful benefits.
Well I hope that this has given you a good flavour about what’s to come in these podcasts and it’s given you an introduction as to what mindfulness is, and some of the benefits associated with it. I’m really looking forward to sharing more with you and I hope that through learning more about mindfulness, practicing mindfulness, allows you to cultivate more peaceful states of mind, that it allows you to access that spiritual dimension, the plus, which I referred to earlier on, which we’ll be coming back to later. And that through practicing mindfulness you have less suffering in your life and more happiness and more enjoyment. That’s my wish for you and that is my intention for producing and offering these podcasts.
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