I often use the ‘busy road’ example when describing the mindfulness approach to my clients. If we assume that the road is your ‘mind’, we may think that you are sitting on the side of this road, blindfolded or unbound. Meditation shines a bright light on your mind, illuminating the path so you can see it better. This bright light is awareness.
Mindfulness involves directing attention to the present moment in a purposeful, unprejudiced, and specific way.
Unbiased Awareness. Not only are you aware of your thoughts and feelings, but also that these are ‘this is really seedy’, ‘destroy this!’ It also includes recognizing structures that encourage escapism. It encourages us not to get caught up in these avoidance behaviors our minds tell us to do to get rid of unpleasant feelings. Developing an unbiased awareness makes it easier for us to observe all our feelings and thoughts as they are, without labeling them good or bad. Developing a Curious Attitude. It is another important part of conscious awareness. Instead of running away from the unpleasant as fast as possible, it encourages turning to it, getting closer, being curious about it. Exploring/examining a bodily feeling or thought; ‘Hmm, what’s that like? It allows us to say
For example, when our subject is the feeling of anxiety. Anxiety do something, get rid of it –> getting stuck in the behavioral chain reaction of anxious thinking –> Continuing anxiety.
The brain is structured around creating habits. The problem is the behaviors we form as part of this habit cycle. Instead of doing something to drive away the anxiety or unpleasant feeling, turning to our feelings of anxiety, approaching them offers a more advantageous alternative. Curious; to pay close attention to it, to turn to it, to turn towards it. By developing a curious attitude towards our feelings and thoughts, staying with them in a certain way is not as bad as we thought. With mindfulness practices, we can learn to experience them in a different way by establishing a different relationship with these feelings and thoughts, rather than the automatic reactions we often give to our feelings and thoughts.