Mindfulness is a Buddhist concept whose aim it is to create lasting unconditional wellbeing by freeing the human being from suffering. According to traditional Buddhism, freedom from suffering is achieved by developing awareness and understanding of what is happening in the present moment, and by enhancing accurate memory of past experiences in order to create a sense of purpose in life.
Being in the present moment is paramount if we want to live a fulfilling life without being regretful of the past or worried about the future. This presence is achieved by observing the interaction between physical, mental and emotional processes with the external world with an attitude of kindness, compassion, curiosity and acceptance. In addition, Buddhist mindfulness is based on the concepts of ‘non-self’, ‘non-attachment’, ‘impermanence’ and ‘interconnectedness’, which can be summarized as the idea that everything - even our personal identity- is interdependent and transient, and that we should therefore not get attached, but approach life and ourselves as an ever-changing experience, whose only constancy is its spiritual nature.
Western mindfulness is not concerned with spiritual matters and instead focuses on reducing psychosomatic symptoms like stress, depression, addiction and anxiety, and/or ‘mindlessness’.
Mindlessness is defined as our tendency to automatically react to external stimuli without
(re-)evaluating the context or the novelty of an experience. As such, mindfulness is the ability to be open to new experiences, to be sensitive to context and perspective, to challenge assumptions and to be involved and responsible.
Western Mindfulness is a constantly evolving field, with new approaches emerging on a regular basis. Two such new approaches are Positive Mindfulness, which combines mindfulness with tools and practices from the science of wellbeing, and Embodied Mindfulness, which focuses on developing an awareness of bottom-up processes, i.e. the way the brain interprets and reacts to the messages the body sends to it.
All types of Mindfulness can be practiced formally during seated meditation and informally by bringing the same meditative awareness to everyday life.
Our approach to Mindfulness incorporates both Buddhist and Western mindfulness, and we aim to present you with practices from both schools of thought as well as the latest research in the field.
To get started with your own mindfulness practice:
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