Mindfulness & Meditation

Ajaan Pannavaddho speaks of training ourselves to have a sharp mind, developing ourselves to control our actions and stop the restless wanderings of our mind(Silaratano, 2014). Mindfulness is derived from the ancient art of Buddhist Vipassansa Meditation. A growing number of studies have now implicated particular regions of the brain, including the mirror neuron system and related circuits that participate in attunement. Research posits that “mindful awareness may involve the social neural circuitry of the brain as mindfulness is promoted by a form of internal attunement”(Siegel, 2007) I have taken a deep interest in this idea of internal attunement as it is possibly a progressive stepping stone from an unhealthy development of exteroception, where one might have distorted perceptions of the environment; scanning for potential threats rather than enjoying a sense of pleasure(Kain & Terrell, 2018).

In mindfulness one is welcomed to become an active participant in observing oneself in a non-judgemental manner; allowing the moment by moment reality to unfold. It is apparent how this can translate into the complexity of day to day challenges. The act of returning to the present moment awareness through the breath allows the conditioned lens of anxiety or other lenses to cease and the current moment to unfold. This can bring about great relief and exuberance in fact! The most reliable and useful constructs in considering an operational definition of mindfulness includes a study regarding mindfulness (Baer, Smith, Hopkins, Krietemeyer &Toney) in which five factors were acknowledged. (1) non-reactivity to internal experience; (2)noticing perceptions, thoughts, feelings and sensations; in a manner of staying with feelings, whether comfortable or uncomfortable; (3) sublimating from automatic pilot; (4) labelling with words; (5) nonjudgement of experience. This observation is considered a learnable skill(Siegel,2007).