Pranam to my teachers – true Bodhisatvas (awakened ones) who inspire me:
“Mindfulness” is becoming a household word. Translated from the Pali word sati (Sanskrit: smrti), literally means “to remember.” It is about directing and sustaining attention to present moment experience. Jon Kabat-Zinn, the founder of mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) program defines: “Mindfulness is awareness, cultivated by paying attention in a sustained and particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally. It is one of the many forms of meditation, if you think of mediation as any way in which we engage in 1) systematically regulating our attention and energy, 2) thereby influencing and possibly transforming the quality of our experience, 3) in the service of realizing the full range of our humanity, and of 4) our relationship to others and the world.”
Until we become skilled at mindfulness, we don’t fully understand the possibilities and power that lie within each moment. Practicing mindfulness, non-judgmental moment-to-moment awareness, isn’t easy. We can force ourselves to pay attention for a moment, but we can’t force ourselves to be nonjudging. Yet we can enlist other qualities of the mind that support and strengthen mindfulness. JKZ calls them attitudinal foundations of mindfulness in his best-selling book Full Catastrophe Living, there are 9 of them. I hope you will find these two minute videos as helpful as I did. Here they are:
“Cognitive stress and constant rumination on potential threats creates a stressful environment that, in turn, shortens telomere* length. Mindfulness, however, can have a beneficial impact on telomere length by reducing the cognitive stress and arousal that can decrease cellular aging.”
Telomeres – the caps on the ends of chromosomes where our genes reside – and the protective enzyme telomerase. Telomeres keep our chromosomes from aging, much like the little plastic bits on the tips of a shoelace keep it from unraveling.
What’s on my shelf?
My 14 y/o is reading “Unselfie”, by Michelle Borba, where the reader is invited to imagine her “best possible self” and write that down. It warms my heart to read her aspirations “well-mannered, respectful and hard-working, not giving way to emotions, knowing when to hold my tongue, and being a kind and responsible steward to all the beings on this planet”. Thanks Michelle – if you could evoke this in my child, this is one book I think all children should read.
Answering these two questions was the single-minded passion of Epictetus, the great Stoic philosopher…
Within our control are our own opinions, aspirations, desires, and the things that repel us…Outside our control…are such things as what kind of body we have, whether we’re born into wealth or strike it rich, how we are regarded by others, and our status in society.”
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