Posted by Larry Hoover on February 10, 2007, at 13:48:41
In reply to Re: Support, posted by Meri-Tuuli on February 6, 2007, at 11:56:25
> I'm sorry to hear about your pain (both emotional and physical). I always wish I could make everyone on babble have happy lives.
Thanks. I'll settle for happier.
> Does anyone mind expanding on 'mindfulness'? I'm not at all familiar with it. No worries if not. Sounds like I could do with some!
> Kind regards
Mindfulness is a meta-cognitive state. It's a decision, to simply view what transpires in your cognition. The state of being objective about all that is subjective. As I'm discovering, wiki once again has an excellent introductory essay, so I shan't attempt to reinvent the wheel: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mindfulness
The neat thing is that this essay begins with the same beginning act that I was taught, the observation of breathing. It's virtually unconscious to us, most of the time. Yet, it has continual flow. And, it influences consciousness (but that's a later lesson). Noticing breathing becomes a core event of the mindfulness state. The rising and falling and rising and falling. It's always available to you. To notice the rising and falling.
Then, you try to identify anything that enters into or interferes with your consciousness of your breathing. You don't fight it. You just watch it. And you label the part of your consciousness doing so. Let's say you hear a noise from the street. So you acknowledge the hearing mind, perhaps by that simple tag, "hearing". You don't label the sound, you label the mind. If anxiety floats by, you label it as anxiety (or, the anxious mind). Your mind might try to draw you into why you experience anxiety in that instant, and off you go on a tangent. And if that happens, identify "tangent", and simply try to come back to your breathing. Your home, core, mindfulness/meditative act. Soon you realize the transient nature of all the cognitions. The mere act of observing them in this manner encourages their transiency. Anxiety doesn't linger. Or pain. Or whatever bugs you.
In effect, mindfulness is the diametric opposite to denial. Denial forces a time shift. Mindfulness is now. Denial forces you to deal with stuff later, added to whatever else later might bring in its own timeliness.
When my pain is bad, and I enter into this mindfulness state (now becoming second nature), I actually seek the pain out. Pain is distinct from suffering. Suffering is optional. I get on with the pain, and it diminishes.
Just a few weeks ago, I was hooked up to a biofeedback set-up for the first time. I was asked to meditate on my pain. Within three minutes, the temperature in my afflicted limb rose by over 3 degrees. I have since been able to get the temp in my fingertips above 96.2 F. Just by willing it so. And I did this latter act during a spirited conversation. You needn't close off the world to be mindful.
It's like anything you learn to do. You start off being not very able to do it. But you practise, and it becomes easier, and more automatic. I've meditated for years, so this is relatively easy for me. The application of it is quite novel to me, though, so I still have much to learn.
Maybe next, I'll learn how to levitate. <kidding>