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The Eightfold Path: Right Mindfulness

Right Mindfulness is the 2nd practice in Psychological Discipline on the Eightfold Path and includes being aware of today moment with a clear focus. Right Mindfulness is the heart of Buddhist practice and uses throughout the whole Eightfold Path. When you’re conscious, your thinking is Right Idea, your speech is Right Speech, your actions are Right Action, and so on.

The principle of mindfulness is really simple but that does not suggest it’s easy. All you need to do is take note of whatever you’re doing or experiencing without evaluating or interpreting, and without any unnecessary thought chatter. But it’s just when you attempt to remain present in the here and now that you understand what a challenge that can be.

Lost in Thought

You most likely invest most of your time living in your head. The majority of people do, whether they realise it or not. You ponder over problems, things you ought to’ve stated or done, things you should not have stated or done, and things you ‘d like to say to do. You worry over things that may never take place, and review and over things that have actually currently happened that you can no longer change. You rarely live in the present moment.

Right Mindfulness brings your attention back to what’s right in front of you and enables you to be less distracted. You can then see what’s truly required in any scenario and act appropriately.

In some cases when you see how out of control your thinking has actually ended up being, you believe you have to stop thinking altogether. However mindfulness isn’t about sitting with an empty head pondering nothing. Believing isn’t the problem– meaningless thinking is.

Right Mindfulness is about cultivating mindful believed as much as conscious action or mindful speech. With the appropriate use of mindfulness you’ll have the ability to remain present and concentrated on whatever arises.

buddha-in-meditation Focus and let your inner Buddha do the meditating … Take note You’re constantly taking notice of something– unless you’re in a state of deep sleep– but Buddhism makes a distinction between proper and unsuitable attention. Suitable attention (yoniso manaskara) is when you concentrate on today minute and whatever it consists of, while improper attention (ayoniso manaskara) is what your mind is doing the remainder of the time– i.e. most of the time (including right now, although you probably think you’re concentrating on reading this!).

Right Mindfulness is the sort of attention that shows whatever it sees and accepts whatever equally without judgement. Your attention ought to include whatever that you understand– not just what you can see or hear, but the method your body feels too: the way you’re sitting or moving, the feel of the air on your skin, an itch, the twinge in your knee that plays up when it’s cold, and so on.

It is very important to bring mindfulness down to earth and back into the body otherwise the risk is that you drift off into a dream-like hypnotic trance state. Mindfulness isn’t about sitting passively absorbed into bliss or non-being– that’s an advanced form of Right Concentration, and not the point of mindfulness practice.

The idea behind the practice of Right Mindfulness is to stop your mind running away with itself. But if you try to stop it by managing your thoughts or by requiring your mind to be still, there’ll be a kind of reaction and your mind will start spinning even much faster. The more you attempt to manage it, the more it will resist. So you require to approach it in a thoughtful and open spirit– just watch and see what’s there and let it be. Envision your ideas are like clouds and let them reoccur without keeping them.

The reality is that behind the mayhem in your mind, awareness itself is a boundless open area. As my preferred Pema Chodron quote says:

“You are the sky. Everything else, it’s just the weather condition.”

In time, your mind needs to begin to relax of its own accord and you ought to find it simpler to get in today moment with less resistance. You can practice mindfulness by watching your breath while resting on a cushion or chair, however if you actually wish to totally free yourself from suffering, you need to apply mindfulness to everything you do. So you can practice all the time– just keep in mind to come back to today minute, no matter what you’re doing.

In the Discourse on the Four Facilities of Mindfulness (Satipatthana Sutra) the Buddha provided 4 objects to utilize in your practice:

  • Body– Kayanupassana
  • Sensations– Vedananupassana
  • Mind– Cittanupassana
  • Dharmas– Dhammanupassana

Practising mindfulness of your body will help you to remain grounded in the present however also encourages you to make buddies with your body. You can’t more than happy and devoid of suffering if you’re battling against yourself or dislike your body. This practice is especially valuable when you’re ill or in discomfort.

Practising mindfulness of your feelings also helps you to make buddies with whatever occurs and just let it be. Feelings can be either enjoyable, unpleasant, or neutral, and the concept is to stop preventing the darker or harder sensations and discover to accept them.

Practising mindfulness of your mind suggests enjoying the ‘psychological formations’ of ideas and emotions (emotions are what you think about what you’re feeling, the story you inform yourself about your feelings). This is how you work with the wholesome and unwholesome seeds that we looked at in Right Effort. Mindfulness encourages the helpful seeds to grow and the unhelpful ones are gone back to the unconscious to be transformed.

Practicing mindfulness of the dharmas means seeing the phenomena or things of your mind. Each psychological development has a things. If you’re upset, for instance, the item is the reason for your anger. This practice helps you to see the interdependence of everything and leads to the realisation of the true nature of truth.

By practicing Right Mindfulness you can develop stillness and equanimity which enables the true nature of reality to be revealed in all its glory. Mindfulness will assist you to get in touch with and live through your inner Buddha, or real Self– the ‘goal’ of the Eightfold Course.

“A Buddha is someone who is mindful all day long. We are just part-time Buddhas.”– Thich Nhat Hanh

Next time: Right Concentration


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