Mindfulness: The Art of Conscious Living

Patients can choose to integrate mindfulness and contemplative practices to compliment and support their treatment. Through mindfulness and contemplative practices one can learn to increase their capacity to bear difficult experience, tolerate and reduce stress, and alleviate discomfort and suffering. Scientific research has shown mindfulness-based therapeutic approaches to be effective in the treatment of stress, anxiety, depression, chronic pain and numerous additional issues.

“Mindfulness is an ancient Buddhist practice which has profound relevance for our present day lives. This relevance has nothing to do with Buddhism per se or with becoming a Buddhist, but it has everything to do with waking up and living in harmony with oneself and with the world. It has to do with examining who we are, with questioning our view of the world and our place in it, and with cultivating some appreciation for the fullness of each moment we are alive. Most of all, it has to do with being in touch…

…Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally. This kind of attention nurtures greater awareness, clarity, and acceptance of present-moment reality. It wakes us up to the fact that our lives unfold only in moments. If we are not fully present for many of those moments, we may not only miss what is most valuable in our lives but also fail to realize the richness and the depth of our possibilities for growth, and transformation…

…When we commit ourselves to paying attention in an open way, without falling prey to our own likes and dislikes, opinions and prejudices, projections and- expectations, new possibilities open up and we have a chance to free ourselves from the straitjacket of unconsciousness. I like to think of mindfulness simply as the art of conscious living. You don’t have to be a Buddhist or a yogi to practice it. In fact, if you know anything about Buddhism, you will know that the most important point is to be yourself and not try to become anything that you are not already. Buddhism is fundamentally about being in touch with your own deepest nature and letting it flow out of you unimpeded. It has to do with waking up and seeing things as they are. In fact, the word “Buddha” simply means one who has awakened to his or her own true nature”.

Jon Kabat-Zinn