Nearly twenty years ago, I did a workshop with Jon Kabat-Zinn, Ph.D., whose first book “Full Catastrophe Living” and overall teachings have had a lasting influence on me. This book is a classic on the topic of mindfulness and it has played a spiritual role in both bringing this practice into the Integrative Medicine World as well as in developing the method we teach our patients on how to deal with stress.
I would like to share with you the Seven Essentials of Mindfulness Practice, adapted from this great book.
Be an impartial witness to your experience. Observing without judging helps you see what is on your mind without editing or intellectualizing it, or getting lost in your thoughts.
No goal other than to be yourself. It is not about achieving bliss, relaxation or anything else.
A willingness to see things the way they are. By fully accepting what each moment offers, you are able to experience life much more completely.
Of thoughts, ideas, things, events, desires, views, hopes and experiences, both pleasant and unpleasant. Allowing things to be as they are, without getting caught up in our attachment to or rejection of them. It means to give up resisting or struggling and allowing things to be as they are. Watching your breath as it goes in and out is an excellent starting place for this practice of letting go.
Free of expectations from past experience. Remove the attachment of the past and just be. Watch the moments unfold, with no agenda other than to be fully present. Use the breath as an anchor to tether your attention to the present moment.
Remembering that things must unfold in their own time. An alternative to the mind’s restlessness and impatience. Not letting our anxieties and desire for certain results dominate the quality of the moment.
In yourself and your feelings. A feeling of confidence that things can unfold within a dependable framework that embodies order and integrity.