012 – The Benefits of Mindfulness – Part 3
Describes benefits 11-14, from the 18 benefits of mindfulness. More content on benefits to follow in future podcasts.
- Benefit 11 – Mindfulness enhances your happiness and well-being.
- When you do the right thing, from a mindful state, you get rewarded in many ways.
- Mindfulness practice means more enjoyment, means more peace, means you do the right thing.
- Benefit 12 – Mindfulness significantly reduces suffering.
- Psychological suffering is birthed from being lost in thought, not being mindful, and being unskilful.
- The upshot of skilfulness and unskilfulness is that when you’re skilful you don’t cause any harm. When you’re unskilful you do.
- Benefit 13 – Enhanced enjoyment of pleasure.
- Referenced interview with CJ Liu.
- Benefit 14 – Creativity and problem solving.
- Solve some of the most complex difficult problems through being open to the fact that there is something that’s beyond your mind that you can access. It helps you if you allow it to.
Full Transcript from Podcast
Hello and welcome to the Mindfulness+ Podcast. My name is Darren Cockburn. The podcast website is www.mindfulnessonlinetraining.org. If you go on there you will find various links to podcasts grouped and options for subscribing, and also accompanying notes. Help yourself to the website.
So here we go, we are on to the third podcast about mindfulness benefits. You might think that it just needs one podcast to talk about the benefits, but it needs more than one, and the reason for this is that we’re keeping the podcasts to about twenty minutes each. I think after twenty minutes it’s nice to have a little pause and digest things. Also, there are so many benefits and they take a little while to explain. I’ve got eighteen on my list and I’m sure there’s a lot more than this. But yeah, that’s why we’re having these different podcasts on benefits. This is the third one, and there may well be more to come if we don’t get through them all.
We’re onto benefit number eleven out of the eighteen and let’s go straight into it. Benefit eleven is that mindfulness enhances your happiness and your well-being. How does it do that? Well, when you’re mindful, you open yourself up to your intelligence that’s built within you, and with Mindfulness+ to the wisdom that transcends you.
Everything that comes out of the mindful state, be it thoughts, communication, physical action, is skilful, and it’s in harmony with what the universe as a whole needs. When you do the right thing it always feels good.
Mindfulness does resort in happiness, peace of mind, general well-being. When you do the right thing, from a mindful state. I was talking to a friend about this earlier. You get rewarded. You get rewarded in many ways. You get rewarded with a peaceful mind and feeling good that you’ve done what’s right. That’s helpful. You get rewarded, sometimes if you’re mindful it’s easier to enjoy what you experience, and the enjoyment is a reward. You’re being rewarded for enjoying things, and you can enjoy the reward. You can enjoy the enjoyment – it’s a cycle.
There’s enjoyment of your experience and when you’re mindful, and you’re enjoying things, or even if you’re not enjoying things. Even if you’re just feeling peaceful and your thoughts, communication, action are skilful, there’s an internal reward that I experience that comes from the body. It feels like the body rewards you. It actually feels good. I mention just now I was talking to a friend earlier about this and we were saying, oh I wonder why when you do do the right thing, if you’re aware you, find that the body feels quite nice as a result. Is that because the body knows? Because there’s intelligence in the body that knows what’s wise and kind and what isn’t? Or is it that the mind sends instructions to the body and creates feelings in the body, that then reward the mind. It’s like the mind is creating its own reward for good things. Like if you did something that you was really proud of and thought I’ll cook myself a really nice celebratory meal. You give yourself a reward, and I was just wondering whether that’s how it works. The mind actually uses a body as a reward mechanism or whether the body just does it.
Anyway, it doesn’t matter, what matters is mindfulness practice means more enjoyment, means more peace, means you do the right thing, rather than being unskilful and just causing a lot of stress in the mind and also unpleasant feelings and sometimes even disease in the body. It makes sense to do the mindful thing.
Benefit number twelve is that mindfulness significantly reduces suffering. This is linked to the previous benefit. Suffering, and I’m talking here about psychological suffering primarily. Psychological suffering is birthed from being lost in thought, not being mindful, and being unskilful. I’m going to have a separate podcast or number of podcasts to talk about this skilfulness and unskillfulness thing. The upshot of skilfulness and unskilfulness is that when you’re skilful you don’t cause any harm. When you’re unskilful you do. You’ll certainly find this in many philosophies and various teachings. Certainly Buddhist teachings and Yoga teachings. When we’re mindful, we’re automatically skilful, we’re not causing any harm, and often we’re actually doing really good things, kind things and it’s wise. What that means is that if you’re mindful you’re skilful and you’re not going to be psychologically suffering.
The psychological suffering is created from a mind that’s lost in thought. When we disappear off into a dream or our mind follows some addictive root and causes these problems. We’ve all got a bit of that in us – it’s like a form of madness really. It’s like we know, we all have the opportunity and the choice to do what’s right. Which comes from a mindful state. We don’t always do that. Sometimes we are unskilful. It always results in a load of stress and that stress can sometimes go on for days months, years, lifetimes even. If you want to suffer less it makes sense to be more mindful.
Benefit number thirteen is enhanced enjoyment of pleasure. If you like your pleasure. Most people enjoy their pleasure. I wonder if everyone enjoys pleasure. I wonder if it’s possible not to enjoy pleasure. I’m going off at a tangent here. Anyway, when you’re mindful, you can enjoy pleasure more. Why is that? Let’s take the example of having a nice meal and eating some nice food. If you’re going to do that mindfully, and be aware of the taste of the food and the texture. Maybe how it looks if it looks good. You sometimes get food that looks really nice but tastes really bad. And you sometimes get food that looks really bad but tastes really nice.
Anyway, when you’re mindful and you’re aware of your eating experience, and what’s going on there, you enjoy the pleasure of the food more. You enjoy the reward of the good food going into the body and the pleasant feelings from that so that’s one example. I don’t know about you, but there’s been so many times that I’ve eaten lovely food and had the opportunity to enjoy it, and not enjoyed it, because I’ve been lost in my thoughts. Sometimes if I’m eating on my own going I’d be like in a dream rather than actually eating the food. Usually an unskilful dream. Not a being asleep dream, but dream being a wake dream. One of those while I’m eating. I’ve done that loads of times. I get irritated sometimes if I’ve got some really nice food in front of me, and I’m in company and people just want to talk all the way through the meal. There’s nothing wrong with talking all the way through a meal, it’s just that personally I prefer moments of silence. It’s just the way that my mind works, it’s like that. I sometimes go out for a meal. Sometimes that’s the best food that I have, I’m not the best cook in the world, so often when I go out, the food’s better than what I can make. I go out with friends and the lovely food, I find it harder to enjoy it if there’s just a lot of discussion and stuff going on if my mind’s busy.
Anyway, what was we talking about? We were talking about being mindful and using your mindfulness to enjoy pleasure. I give an example on an interview that I had and it’s the podcast, an interview with CJ Liu and there’s a podcast for it. There’s also a YouTube video. That was a funny interview. I give the example there about the pleasure of going to the toilet and doing a number one or a number two. This is assuming that your body’s working fine. I know it’s not always a pleasurable experience for everyone. I think that’s just such a great opportunity to have some pleasure. You get many opportunities each day to be able to enjoy going to the toilet. If you actually enjoy it and be mindful of it, and be aware of what’s going on and the sensations in the body, I personally think it’s really pleasant. I mean the alternative of course is rather than be with the experience is to get lost in your thoughts. You’re going to toilet, but you’re not really mindful of the fact that it’s a bodily experience of going to toilet, your head’s off somewhere else.
I know a lot of people do this. I’ve done it before – I make a confession. You’re going to the toilet and you take your phone in with you, or your iPad if you have one of those. And you go on the phone. I was working for an organisation once and I went into a gents toilet and there was a bank of urinals in there. There was a friend of mine, I’m not going to mention his name. He was going to toilet and he was holding his penis with his left hand, and he was using his phone answering his emails with his right hand. I said “how can you enjoy going to toilet when you do that?”. He was actually, to be fair, most of the time he’s was very mindful. I guess you could do that mindfully, but it wouldn’t be as pleasurable.
Lots of things, energy in the body, movement, nature, sex. Even pleasure associated with clothes you’re wearing, the texture of clothes can be extremely pleasurable. There is lots of pleasure to be had without really needing to go searching for it you know, if you’re mindful, if you’re aware of your experience. So that’s number thirteen, enjoyment of pleasure.
Number fourteen is creativity and problem solving. If the mind’s quiet, it’s easier for you to tap into the deeper parts of the mind where wonderful creations are made. If the surface of the mind is still, or is peaceful, or is quiet, you can you can go deeper to extract creations. Another way of looking at it, because I don’t understand the functioning of the brain, I’m just using little simple explanations to try and articulate the benefits. Another way of looking at it is that when the mind’s quiet and peaceful it’s like you’re allowing creations to come forth from the deep depths of the mind. I’m told this is the processing power like in the subconscious mind is thousands of times more powerful than what you can do in your conscious mind, on the surface. When the surface is quiet, you are allowing what’s in the depths of the mind to come to the front. It’s like the lake example. If you have a very still lake and there’s something that’s very beautiful, like a beautiful creation at the bottom of the still lake. It may be that someone has made something like a beautiful piece of jewellery and dropped it in the lake by accident off the side of a boat, and this beautiful piece of jewellery, shining and lovely colours is at the bottom of the lake. Through the lake being still it allows that jewellery, that piece of jewellery to be seen. Potentially it allows it to be accessed and taken from there up to the surface where it can be enjoyed at a different level.
I also believe that when the mind’s quiet and when it’s more spacious, there’s just more room for wonderful things to be created. I know the creations they do come out of difficult situations. I’m sure that people with hugely busy minds have created wonderful things. I’m not saying it’s not possible. Really with these things it’s very difficult to prove them. I can just talk from my own experience. I know certainly with the wonderful things that I’ve created. Many of the wonderful things that I’ve created, that’s come about from a still mind. Then I’ve also created some beautiful things from a busy mind – that’s another story.
And I said greater creativity and problem solving, when the mind is peaceful and spacious, there’s room in there to work through problems. It’s very difficult, especially complex problems. Some complex problems, sometimes they require thinking through. Sometimes you are dependent upon the +, the transcendental of wisdom, the + in the Mindfulness+. Sometimes you need to draw upon that and to work out what the answer is for the way forward through a complex challenging problem. I believe that there are many problems that our minds can’t really solve through thought. Sometimes you can ask yourself a question and leave the subconscious mind to process it, and then it will come back to you hopefully at some point. I also believe that you can you can put the question out there and through having a very peaceful mind and an openness within you that you can get the answer back to some of the most complex difficult problems that you face through mindfulness. Through being open to the fact that there is something that’s beyond your mind that you can access if you let it help you, and you don’t have to. If you do, it’s a wonderful thing. It’s very powerful. In terms of solving problems and creating things, it’s really the best possible thing you can draw upon. Although it’s not a thing. We’re starting to talk about the + or the spiritual dimension. I’m going to come back to this in future podcasts.
I’ll leave it there for now. We have done benefits eleven to fourteen. Going to come back in part four of the mindfulness benefits podcast group and do the other four benefits next time. The website, to remind you is www.mindfulnessonlinetraining.org. My name is Darren Cockburn and I thank you very much indeed for listening. I hope the podcast is going to be of use to you and lead to more mindfulness, peace, happiness, kindness, love, acceptance and all the other wonderful stuff that I can’t explain!
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