Mindfulness involves the use of the following three ordinary, everyday “skills” (but with a heightened state of self-awareness):
- observing … that is, giving bare and curious attention to what is what is happening in one’s body, mind and consciousness … with choiceless awareness;
- describing … that is, [in some Mindfulness "traditions" and practices] using techniques such as “noting” (eg “thinking … thinking”) and “labelling” (eg “sad”, “angry”) - without judgment, condemnation or criticism of any kind - what is happening in one’s body, mind and consciousness ... OR simply acknowledging - without anticipating or reflecting upon it - whatever be the sensation of the moment in the immediacy of its arising or vanishing;
- participating … that is, practising, whilst paying full and undivided attention to, certain activities (including but not limited to ordinary, everyday activities such as eating, reading and watching TV) in a manner that enables one to step back and otherwise disengage from what is what is happening in one’s body, mind and consciousness, thus enabling oneself to de-stress, detach and disengage from mental clutter and to have a clear mind.
For some time now I have been interested in the work and writings of Marsha M Linehan (pictured below), who is an American psychologist and author of such books as Cognitive-Behavioral Treatment of Borderline Personality Disorder (New York: Guildford Press, 1993). Linehan is a Professor of Psychology, Adjunct Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the
Lineham has developed a system of psychotherapy known as Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), which is a type of psychotherapy that combines behavioural science with concepts of acceptance and Mindfulness derived from both Eastern and Western contemplative practices.
For more on BPD watch this quite helpful YouTube video:
Equally importantly, one learns that, when painful or otherwise unpleasant feelings or memories arise, one need not become caught up by them but can let them drift or float away. In other words, there is a shift in focus and one's persepective of thinking from being in the past and future to being fully engaged in the present. Further, one learns to be an objective observer and witness of oneself in the "time at hand" … with emotional equanimity and tranquillity.
NOTE. This blog sets out a simple form of mindfulness sitting meditation.