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Learning About Mindfulness - Questions and Answers

Mindfulness (A Merloyd Lawrence Book)In the past few years, there has been a lot of talk among psychology circles about mindfulness. If you are interested in learning more about this practice or have unanswered questions about it then this article will help clear up the mysteries surrounding mindfulness practice.

How do you define mindfulness practice? Mindfulness is basically both an accepting attitude towards whatever is currently going on and a heightened awareness of the present moment. Hence, the practice is to be mindful of your surroundings and yourself without any type of agenda of what must happen or what you expect will happen.

Why do people do mindfulness meditation? It seems like a waste of time. Mindfulness meditation is enjoyable in itself. Most people do not take the time to just be alone by themselves. I don't necessarily mean physically alone but mentally. We always feel rushed, ruminating over the past, or focusing constantly on future problems or goals. Mindfulness is a type of mental exercise that both clears away the unnecessary junk and strengths the mind.

So, this is a Buddhist practice right? While mindfulness was introduced to the West by Buddhist monks such as Thich Nhat Hanh, there have always been people in the world who did a form of mindfulness practice whether they were atheists, Christians, or Buddhists. Today, mindfulness is even taught at universities like Brown University and the University of Pennsylvania because it has proven to have positive effects for one's mental and physical health despite one's religious beliefs.

How long does it take to master mindfulness? Mindfulness is not really a skill you ever finish practicing. It is more like a state of mind or attitude that one continually builds upon. It is very easy to learn, it can literally take less than five minutes to get the basics. But it takes a life time of practice, and the rewards are always there.

Will mindfulness meditation make me a happier person? Yes and no. Mindfulness will help you stop the cycle of negative habits and mental conditioning that plague the majority of people throughout the day. It will cultivate a more open, accepting attitude towards life whether pleasant or painful experiences occur. You will feel more relaxed, peaceful, and in tune with your mind and body. However, this does not mean that painful experiences will just end. Life still continues on, but you are no longer mired in the past or future. But, now, you can have a great life in the present moment.

Where do I go to learn more about mindfulness? There are numerous centers, teachers, and books on mindfulness now. Some recommendations would include Emotional Alchemy by Tara Goleman or Mindfulness by Ellen Langer. There are several psychology programs that now actively teach mindfulness practice. You can also find independent teachers throughout the world such as Tara Brach in Washington DC area. You could also join a Buddhist group and do mindfulness or vipassana meditation with them.

By: Peter

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