As part of my last open university essay I studied Mindfulness. I have always had a love of Eastern philosophy and Tai chi, and so this appealed to me. It is a fact that we as human beings see things as WE are and not as THEY are. For instance, take a few moments when next you are out and watch a small child, they live only for that moment, and in that simplicity they have no other worries. Their minds are not pre-occupied with what`s next, life, death or material things, their full concentration is on what they are doing at that exact moment.
We now live in a very fast paced, material world. We believe that we are not good enough unless we have certain things, or a certain place in society and this causes us a great internal pressure. We then learn to repress our inner state, leaving it to pan out in different ways, such as in anger, Repression, (I don`t feel it) Distortion, (Not angry or sad) Denial. (Of course I don`t feel angry) A repetition of any of these can then cause us to fall further into self perpetuating process habits and a fall into psychological quicksand.
Mindfulness is a translation of the pali word Sati, the verb form of Sarati, meaning `reflection.` Buddhists have practiced Mindfulness for 2500 years, but only recently has it become recognized and used in Western psychotherapist approaches, such as Cognitive behaviour therapy. It`s history stems from Northern India where the Buddha was born Siddhatta Guatama in c.490 bc. It is read that Siddhatta led a much pampered life in a Palace where he was protected from any aspect of life deemed disturbing. As a young man Siddhatta became restless with his life and so his Father organized a trip out, where he still tried to shelter Siddhatta from the sadness of life outside the palace; however on his trip Siddhatta witnessed illness, death, old age and a wandering monk.
It was this glimpse into reality that led Siddhatta to become troubled and uncertain about the transient nature of life and death that he left the palace and wandered as a Monk. After six years he walked to Bodh Gaya where he seated himself beneath the Bodhi Tree in the meditation posture and vowed not to rise from meditation until he had attained perfect enlightenment. The Chief of demons tried everything in his power to distract him from his path as Siddhatti sat for seven days in total concentration. Siddhattas` mind slowly awakened, until he then became a Buddha; a fully enlightened being. It was this `awakening` that with the rest of his life he went on to pass on his understanding of human suffering: “I teach suffering, its origin, cessation and path. That’s all I teach”, declared the Buddha.
It teaches you to learn how to observe experience and accept the true nature of things without needing to change or justify them. It is a way to open up and be receptive to perceptions, emotions and thoughts in every given moment, then trying to accept, not judge or change them; just to be!
We are all so busy that we forget to just stop and enjoy. We cover our true feelings like a rock does grass, but as soon as the rock is moved, the grass will return.
I have felt very uptight and anxious of late, I can`t really say why as I`m not sure. My life isn`t very busy, but it has had a lot going on under the surface; whether to have my leg operated on, Bedroom tax worries, Court with my Ex for financial support, Studies and their deadlines, Loneliness at times, My Son job hunting and always being home and sometimes us falling out. Plus, the great problem of not being able to get out the house for long periods due to various reasons and so feeling trapped and having too much time to think.
Tai chi is about changing our internal environment so that life becomes a joy to live and not a burden to drag into old age and death. It is about helping your body to let go of the past and your mind to slow down and cease churning. Tai chi encourages your internal focus to shift toward cherishing and remembering all that is wonderful in your life. It predisposes you to look forward to ways to make life better, rather than remembering how unsatisfying it has been.
Most importantly, tai chi gives us the ability to realise a greater human potential in ourselves and to have genuine compassion for others. Tai chi, with its gentle strength, moves us closer to feeling more truly alive.
I already enjoyed Tai chi, but not the DVD I used for it. It was made to include `seated Tai chi` and I found it very condescending and over emphasized. So after a lengthy online search I found a new one: I love it! Easy going, relaxing and not at all over the top or patronizing. It`s not for seated but I just do what I can and I`ve found I prefer it that way. It does include for those less able, which I wasn`t expecting as it wasn`t splashed all over the covers! It`s a triple DVD collection, so I`ll be a busy girl!
To go with this on my laptop and my phone, I now have meditation I can take anywhere:
Which I have tried for the first time, and was very aware of how tense my body felt, which I guess is the start. I found it hard to relax and stay focused but from small ripples the rest should flow. I do recommend the recording, the voice is very calming, it`s not too short or too long and easy to listen to.
I am not a Buddhist, but I respect and love the teachings, and as well as my own understanding of the world, and myself, it adds to my self belief that we should all live with compassion, kindness, understanding and acceptance of all forms of life.
So, here I am, accepting life as it is; Accepting me as I am; Just being!
(Not always easy undoing a lot of learned bad habits and self flogging but doing my best, and my Son has always said i`m a hippy! lol x.)