More About Mindfulness
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More About Mindfulness

The whole concept of mindfulness isn’t new.  The practice of mindfulness has been around for centuries, but introduced to western culture probably for the past 50 decades if not slightly earlier. For many people, mindfulness might be simply the act of awareness, which is true, but it means so much more.

Mindfulness is an actual practice that helps you learn how to train the mind to focus or pay particular attention to what you want to focus on.  Addiction is an act of dissociation.  Mindfulness can help work against the forces of dissociation or dissociated states. Dissociation is an active practice of leaving the body or removing the self from a perceived attack. This could’ve been a useful tool to many who experienced early trauma (little t or Big T traumas).

I first discovered mindfulness in my second year of graduate school. I was fortunate to enter a research, training and clinical program where we learned how to use a treatment called Dialectical Behavioral Treatment by Marsha Linehan. This treatment is highly effective for those who have difficulty regulating their emotions. The clinicians in this program were taught skills and we were encouraged to practice at home, and come back and teach our clients. We learned how to facilitate and practice mindfulness meditation. We later developed skills to live a mindful life, even when we weren’t actively sitting in meditation.

Mindful living is the act of attuning, which helps you take a deeper view into your internal world and ultimately develop a healthier relationship with the self. Mindfulness gives you the ability to train your attention and focus. Developing the skill of training the mind allows you to develop a practice of letting go of thoughts you grasp onto. When we learn to let go of internal grasping we have a willingness be compassionate and curious with others. Patience comes naturally. The more we are attuned with ourselves we are open to learn new ways to communicate effectively.

The first step to learn how to practice mindfulness is practicing observing without grasping or judging. Take 5 minutes and follow your breath. As you follow your breath notice if you’re having thoughts, emotions, or if you notice your five senses. Instead of engaging in the internal dialogue, just notice. As if you were in a train watching scenery pass you buy. If you notice you are engaging in your thoughts, just notice that. The practice is noticing without judging or grasping. Try it for 5 minutes a day and let me know about your experience.

Elana Clark-Faler