Recently I volunteered to lead a seminar on mindfulness.
I will need to prepare something – something that clearly outlines the benefits so that each attendee is completely hooked. A good outline will keep us on track, preventing us from wandering around aimlessly without any focus. There are many directions I could take, and my outline will prevent that from happening.
I have asked for wisdom. I will need it in order to know exactly what to present.
So what, exactly, are the benefits of practicing mindfulness? The overriding benefit is clearly the ability to “attend to our experiences in a wholesome manner” by using our capacity to “overcome the unskillful habits of mind that cause us to suffer needlessly.”
In other words, mindfulness helps us to nurture the skill to deliberately remain attentive to our experience as it unfolds (in the present moment) without judgment or resistance.
This will need to be simplified. I cannot use big words randomly without losing my audience. I would imagine that introducing a few big words would be acceptable if they are explained carefully and completely.
Over time, the practice of mindfulness reveals and develops the qualities of wisdom and compassion, the twin virtues of this discipline.
Wisdom is the ability to see clearly the fundamental nature of reality. We become truly aware of how little control we have of our environment – the events that deeply affect us. Much of our suffering is a result of trying to manage and command the things over which we have little or no control.
However, what we can control is our thoughts. We can learn to end the need to control what is around us, and grow our awareness of the source of our suffering – and our unhappiness.
By developing awareness of our thoughts and feelings, and remaining detached from the events of our daily lives, we will experience a ripple effect in our level of clarity, peace of mind, resilience and self confidence. Our increased capacity for self rule will not only improve our relationships with others, but put an end to the suffering we create for ourselves that is so unnecessary.
We can’t change what we cannot see; therefore, gaining clarity gives us a leg up on the whole process of personal change. And the clarity that is gained through mindfulness is the realization that there is nothing holding us back except ourselves.
Recovery doesn’t come about by tinkering around the edges; it occurs at the center.