Mindfulness Practice Benefits


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Compiled by Jayaram V

The practice of Mindfulness involves paying close attention to what happens in you and around you. You can be mindful in your daily life wherever and whenever you want, just by paying close attention to such mundane activities as walking, eating, breathing, speaking, etc. No prior preparation is necessary. You can jump into it anytime and stay in it as long as you want.

As you may be aware, the mind cannot focus upon more than one thing at a time. It means you cannot simultaneously be aware of everything that is going on in you or around you. However, by shifting your focus from one thing to another and staying in the present, you can enter the diffusive state of all-round awareness and become increasingly sensitive and aware of your surroundings.

It is true that you cannot continuously practice mindfulness or always remain mindful, unless you decide to be a monk and live in seclusion. Life is such we have to deal with many problems and situations every day. They consume our passions and attention and takes away our peace and joy. However, if you persist in your practice, you will quickly recover from them, without emotionally draining yourself.

Mindfulness practices does not require initiation into any tradition or school. You do not have to be even religious or spiritual to practice. It does not require the special assistance of any teacher or instructor. You can practice it in the convenience of your home or workplace. However, by gaining a deeper knowledge of it through books and articles or joining a mindfulness training program, you may learn the subtle aspects of it or the techniques that may help you improve your practice and awareness.

Many people start their mindfulness practice by focusing upon breathing and body sensations or to the sounds and scenes. From there, they gradually go deeper into feelings and emotions. Some focus upon sounds and objects. You may choose any subject for your practice, and remain focused upon it until you achieve a perfect calm. Concentration is an important aspect of mindfulness. Without mindful concentration, it is difficult to hold the attention.

Mindfulness practice has many uses. In spiritual practice on the Eightfold Path it is used to cultivate wisdom (prajna) and attain deeper states of insightful awareness (jhanas) which culminate in mental absorption (samadhi) or Nirvana. In mundane life, it has a direct impact upon your physical and mental wellbeing and your awareness, intelligence and behavior. You can use it for your self-improvement and self-purification, become more acquainted with yourself, your strengths, weaknesses, vulnerabilities and responses. Here are a few additional benefits.

  1. You learn to be in the present. Studies show that most of the time we do not remain in the present. Mindfulness can help you control your mind and cultivate present moment awareness.
  2. You gain better control over your emotional responses. With mindfulness you will know what triggers you and disturbs you. Knowing that, you can learn to change your responses.
  3. You learn more about yourself, as you pay close attention to your thoughts, emotions, strengths and weaknesses, which will help you choose your goals and priorities or plan your actions.
  4. You strengthen positivity. Mindfulness practice is proven to be useful to cultivate positive emotions such as compassion, friendliness, loving kindness, feeling of gratitude, and so on.
  5. You become a better communicator with mindfulness practice, as you pay attention to what you listen and say, to your choice of words and to both verbal and nonverbal communication.
  6. Your relationships improve as your communication improves and as you establish quick rapport with the people you meet and empathize with them, which in turn improves your likability.
  7. Your decision making improves as your perceptions and discernment improve and you become more thoughtful and measured in your observation, analysis and understanding.
  8. Mindfulness practice leads to peace, relaxation and deeper calm as you overcome your habitual thinking and mechanical responses to problems and situations in your life.

Mindfulness practice is a very easy, practical and powerful way to experience life in its diverse aspects with deeper awareness and discernment. With its continued practice, you will experience greater joy, peace, happiness, gratitude, kindness, friendliness, and other positive emotions. You will appreciate life and the opportunities you have to accept suffering and joy with equanimity and progress in the right direction for your freedom and happiness.

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