Mindfulness-Based meditations encompass a range of techniques, which have the simple purpose of increasing personal awareness of what is happening in the present moment. Superficially one would think this is always so. However, as soon as the practice of mindfulness begins it becomes clear that, eschewing the present, the mind frequently resides in the past or in the future. We also discover habitual and often unconscious patterns of thinking that govern behavior and what we allow ourselves to see and experience.
The practice must be approached with an attitude of none judgment. It is an inward journey, a self-exploration, where the only purpose is to really experience and understand the nature of life in the moment. In his poem Little Gidding, T.S. Eliot expresses it this way:
“…We shall not cease from exploration|
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time…”
As the ability to live life in the present increases, a number of very deep and personal changes take place. We are better able to accept the full range of life experience: the bad, the good, the ugly and the beautiful. As we internalize the realization that these are all part of life, we are less likely to cling desperately to events we find pleasant and to push away and try to ignore events we find unpleasant. This in turn leads to a whole cadre of changes, such as:
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