One way to understand mindfulness is in the context of the quote attributed to George Gurdjieff, a mystic and spiritual teacher:
“If you can pour a cup of tea right, you can do anything”.
Pouring a cup of tea with awareness that is.
Mindfulness Therapy is training one’s awareness to be conscious of thoughts, feelings, and sensations without judgment or thinking about anything else in that moment. As the Vietnamese Buddhist Monk, Thich Nhat Hanh, puts it: “Breathing in, I know I am breathing in”. This can be very difficult in our technological society that promotes multitasking to increasingly frantic degrees. While undoubtedly helpful in conducting business and connecting people around the world in an instant, our society’s focus on instantaneous communication has caused our attention to become fragmented and ungrounded.
Mindfulness therapy gently directs one back to the present moment. It is achieved by quieting the mind and body and checking in with oneself any given moment. With this awareness we learn to be at home with ourselves, at ease, and comfortable in our own skin. It opens up the possibility of making different choices and integrating new patterns of behavior.
It may seem difficult in our fast-paced lives to set aside time specifically to experience present moment awareness. However, the skill can be cultivated and applied in many situations and the benefits of mindfulness therapy can be realized right away.
The non-judgmental basis of mindfulness therapy makes is a natural fit for use in counseling or psychotherapy. By embracing the psychologist Carl Rodgers‘ concepts of unconditional positive regard and in-the-moment awareness, the therapist can foster the compassionate environment necessary for healing.
Benefits of Mindfulness Therapy
It can help individuals or couples who come for counseling to learn better communication skills and acceptance of themselves and others, by fostering responsiveness rather than reactivity. Free of the limitations of old behaviors, and better able to manage their difficult emotions, clients are empowered to make better choices and enjoy freedom to be spontaneous. These sames skills can also be practiced at home to deal with stress, anxiety, or depression. Mindfulness is not about sitting on a cushion in silence, but about practical applications. Benefits accrue over time from practice. (Here are some Resources you might also find useful.)
Not only can you pour a cup of tea right, but you can do anything better; add mindfulness.