Be mindful today…..

that text is on my car. It is there as a reminder for me and for others and hopefully to attract attention and cliënts. But do I know what the term “mindful” means? Do I know what I am pretending with this words? Yes, I think I am, although it is in a personal and subjective way. But that is approved. I found  some confirmation for this in the video-presentations of this “De- mystifying mindfulness” course, in the facts and interpretations of various traditions and themes.

I am beginning with the end. I felt relieved when I was told, in the summary of this third module, that I don’t have to understand all information, and that the main thing is that there is an important relation between mindfulness and the worth of subjective knowledge. I fell, unnecassery, into the trap of trying hard to put al the given knowledge in my head! Although I already know and teach that it is really important to experience it and find your own way, in what mindfulness is and what it means to yourself. I showed that I am a western person of modern time: “alway trying to improve”. But Buddhism can bring us to the more eastern tinted question: “Is the first attempt, the most pure and non-interpretated version? “ In Buddhism is mindfulness not something we know, but it’s something we should become by practicing it. The foundations of Sati are: the body, feelings, thoughts and mental events. With proportionally attention for each aspect.

So I am aware of sometimes overrating the teaching, the knowledge about mindfulness and as a effect of this, spend less time on practicing. (Yes, my meta-awareness is already trained. Not only while practicing mindfulness, also while studying).  Especially in this Coursera course. And also in life. Why worrying about my question named in the start of this essay? People can rely on their own experience and interpretation on the word “mindful” . On the other hand, if after a study of Sati, Zen, Daoisme, Stoicism and modernity, qualified people cann’t tell exactly what mindfulness means or if it is measurable, why should I think I am qualified enough to know what mindfulness is?

Nevertheless , I found some information with whom I resonate about what mindfulness means, or can mean.  Buddhism tells that it is important to re-member, ‘bringing back to the body’. In daily life I often take mindful moments by bringing my attention back to my body. How and where does my emotion feels in my body? In mindfulness training I often guide cliënts in mindful exposure. Bringing more balance in giving attention to the four aspects, named as before, is worthful. It reduces stress. It makes me loose of rumination. I often experience that I am capable to bear the feeling  in my body. When I am attachted at thinking about the emotion, I often get more easily lost in rumination or suffering.

In Zen tradition I recognize my principles and my vision in the word “Tathagatagarbha”. The essence of our mind is always already the Buddha nature. We are already original enlighted.  In my opinion we are troubled by our life experience, we are hurt, filled with troubled thoughts, patterns and so more. We can heal ourselves by developing consciousness about this built patterns. In Daoisme they are also searching fora n internal balance, so that we can act more skilfully. When I am using my meta- awareness in an emotional situation, I discover that it is not only about this situation, but it’s resonating with early emotional situations. I can see it clearly then and act more skilfully, instead of overreacting. Also in contact with cliënts I can analyse this for and with them.  The oppositions as shown in Daoisme( Yin,Yang a.o.) are familiar to me. I am a sensitive person who knows deep valleys and peeks. It makes me a whole human( Jungian theory also). Daoisme also tells that balance can not be either one of the opposite aspects. The forgetting part, as named in Daoisme, ‘Wu Zhi”, is worthful for me. Non thought or non- knowledge or “It’s not about seeing clearly but also about forgetting” , I often practice this.  By being aware that a thoughts comes and goes, even as sensation in the body are. As a teacher and counsellor I often tell clients or make thema ware while experiencing it, ( and myself) that a moment, a word, a thougt or a feeling, understood or not, has passed by. That we can let it go. Try to keep it , holding it, brings us stress and then we are not open for new moments of experiences. I notice my development in being more ‘forgetting or ignoring”.

At last I quote something from Stoicism: “it ’s a way of life, it has to embodied, by practical exercises and in agreement with nature. I experience that I live in a mindful way. By being mindful and practicing mindfulness. So ,yes I can answer my question. I can know what mindfulness is, by my own subjective experiences and cognitions. But it is limited. As it is for many people. ( Even the ‘Coursera peopleJ) But that is o.k. Stoicism tells us that we have imperfect power to understand the world as is really is.  So ,  I am just human and I now decide to let go of my question. Being mindful today….!


Clara Welhuis-Wiefferink