The Meaning, Purpose And Practice Of Mindfulness


Mindfulness means to be now and here and perceive with clarity what is happening in your mind and body. It is to consciously observe your breathing, body sensations, actions, thoughts and feelings in the present moment with detachment and pure attention It is a down to earth, universally verifiable practice rooted in the perceptual reality and within the easy reach of ordinary human experience.

Both Buddhists and non Buddhists can apply the principles of mindfulness practice in their daily experiences to gain a better understanding of themselves, their feelings and emotions, problems, relationships, actions and reactions. Mindfulness is a down to earth practice rooted in the reality of your life and your actions.

With mindfulness you learn See Know and Understand Through mindfulness, by observing ourselves we experience the Four Noble Truths personally & gain insight (vipasana) into our own suffering.

Through perfect mindfulness we begin to see the impermanence of things and our own existence. This insight leads to perfection on the Eightfold Path culminating in Nirvana or liberation. The Buddha suggested that mindfulness should be practiced for the following reasons:

1. For the purification of the being
2. For overcoming sorrow and lamentation
3. For the destruction of suffering and grief
4. For reaching the perfect path
5. For the attaiment of Nirvana

The Buddha himself suggested the framework to practice mindfulness in two sutras namely Anapanasati and Satipatthana sutras. Anapanasati is mindfulness of in and out breathing. Those who wish to practice it can do so either sitting standing, reclining or walking, but the body should be upright all the time.

The attention should be fixed on the nostrils and one should start breathing in and breating out mindfully, without making any attempt to control the breathing Anapanasati is not pranayama because there is no attempt to regulate the breathing There are eight gradual steps in the practice of anapanasati which lead to the attainment of higher states of samadhi and liberation.

1. Counting the breaths (ganana)
2. Following the breath (anubandhana)
3. Contact with the breath (phusana)
4. Fixing the breath in deep concentration (thapana)
5. Observing the breath with insight (sallakkhana)
6. Turning away the cycle of births and deaths (vivattana)
7. Purification of seven defilements (parisuddhi)
8. Retrospection (patipassana) It helps us to remain in the present, stay calm under pressure, improve our communication and interaction with people and safeguard ourselves from carelessness and
insensitivity. Satipatthana is another powerful technique suggested by the Buddha to practice mindfulness of:

1. The body (kaya)
2. The feelings (vedana)
3. The mind (citta) and
4. The mental qualities (dhamma)

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