Home Mind Mindfulness

Mindfulness

Mindfulness has been at the center of a large number of discussions and clinical studies in the last couple of decades. Moreover, it’s established itself as an important method for influencing the way we respond to our environment and the different thoughts, feelings, sensations it provokes inside us. But where did mindfulness come from and how did it manage to become so successfully ingrained in the fabric of the Western culture?

The History of Mindfulness

Mindfulness has its origins in ancient meditation practices. Based on Zen and Tibetan meditation techniques, the actual source can be traced to sati, a very important element of Buddhism. It is the seventh factor of the Noble Eightfold Path and there are various translations of the term. Whether you call it awareness, mindfulness, bare attention, or even remembrance (all of which are acceptable translations), it doesn’t really matter, as sati (smrti in Sanskrit) denotes that one is on the path of liberation. This path leads to blissful awareness which lies beneath all the human suffering, the foundation of all our experiences.

Unfortunately, western civilization has had to live without the ideas of sati for a long time, only finding all about it through the teachings of Thích Nhất Hạnh, a Buddhist monk and peace activist who brought the idea of mindfulness to a population starved for meaning.

Afterward, Jon Kabat-Zinn, an American Professor Emeritus of medicine and a student of Thích Nhất Hạnh, took it a step further. He created the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Program at the University of Massachusetts, and thus began the application of mindful practices and techniques in medicine.

Today, mindfulness exists in the Western culture completely devoid of any spiritual or religious meaning, and it used purely as a tool to achieve what Kabat-Zinn describes as “present moment awareness”. It was with great effort that he managed to extract mindfulness from Buddhist teachings and present it in such a way that the general population, at the time quite wary of “new age, eastern mysticism” could accept it, and even apply it in their everyday lives. The rest is, as they say, history.

How to Improve Self-Awareness

On a scale of 1 to 5, how self-aware are you? If the answer is 5, congratulations! Being highly self-aware implies that you have good leadership...

Overwhelmed With Questions About Life? Take This Buddha’s Advice.

“One must immerse oneself in the river of life and let the question drift away” — Gautama Buddha. Death, freedom, isolation, and meaninglessness are the...

3 Ways Meditation Can Be Bad for You

Meditation is often seen as a panacea — a cure for all ills from heartbreak to joint pain, from high blood pressure to low...

Meditation Simplified

If you are reading this article, it’s likely that you have already started meditating or you are considering doing so and are curious to...

How to Be Mindful When Dealing with Negative Emotions

There was once a human and he/she never felt a difficult emotion, said no one ever. We are all humans and as such, we feel. A...

10 Mindfulness Rituals to Make Your Life Better

The year is 2019. The busy world we live in can pose a challenge for us to create and keep a healthy lifestyle, to...

Most Popular

3 Questions To Transition Out Of Anger Quickly

Anger isn’t as dangerous as we think. It’s not as useful, either. Here’s what you need to know. Living Passionately “We...

The Fallacy of “Compromise” in Relationships

People often tell me the advice they’ve gotten is to learn the art of compromise. They’ve heard it’s a...

How to handle emotions

A few things to know about your feelings that might shed some light on what to do with them. Here’s...

5 Scientific Reasons Exercise is the Antidote for Anxiety

Generalized Anxiety Disorder first appeared as a diagnostic category in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders in...

Editor's Pick

Six Eating Habits to Improve Your Life

Feeling good in your skin depends on so many...

The Real Reasons You Procrastinate (and How To Stop)

Stuck at home because of current events? Congratulations, you...

How to handle emotions

A few things to know about your feelings that...

MORE TOP READS

The Five Ways for Couples to Grow a Deeper Connection

Relationships are dynamic in their nature, and it’s no wonder that people find themselves...

Seven Steps to a Happy Family

Reading about statistics probably isn’t your top choice for a relaxing afternoon. But if...

Cucumber Juice: Is It Worth the Hype?

Every now and then, health beverage trends pop up and take the world by...

4 Pitfalls of Working from Home – and What You Can Do to Avoid Them

With employers starting to recognize the many upsides of letting employees work from home,...

Five Scientific Ways Your Body Can Heal Itself

Our bodies are a fascinating subject, even more so when you consider how little...

How Journaling Can Reduce Stress

Among various stress-coping strategies, journaling stands out as one of the less physically demanding...

Productivity Tips: How to Best Manage Your Emails

Whether you’re working, sleeping, eating, or spending quality time with your family doesn’t matter...

6 Basic Self-Reflective Questions

Being present with oneself, in the moment, being mindful, mentalizing, reflective function — all...