The Attitudinal Foundations of Mindfulness Practice
The Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) practice is based in seven attitudinal aspects that Jon Kabet-Zinn teaches and has integrated in the development of learning how to implement mindfulness into your daily life. These seven pillars of mindfulness practice are front and center as we work to cultivate them consciously as we practice mindfulness. As you progress in your practice, you will want to continue to come back to these seven foundational pillars “to fertilize this attitudinal soil so that your mindfulness practice will flourish.” (Kabet-Zinn, 1990, 2013
Practicing a non-judging mind involves becoming aware of the stream of thoughts and feelings and how we label things. As we become aware of our thoughts we will, then, also become aware of the judgments we attach to things, labeling things, people and events as “good”, “bad” or “neutral”. These judgments often set our automatic responses into motion without any awareness of why we are doing something or how the judgments make us feel.
Practicing patience is a form of wisdom. Cultivating patience towards our minds and bodies focuses us on being aware of the fact that there is no need to be impatient with ourselves if we notice our judging mind, or our wandering thoughts. Giving ourselves permission to have these experiences allows us to accept that we “are” having the experiences anyway.
- Beginner’s Mind
Taking each moment as it comes with freshness is to see it with a beginner’s mind. This frees us from expectations of certain outcomes. To practice cultivating beginner’s mind view each moment with fresh eyes without your own cluttered thoughts and judgments.
Learning to look within and trust yourself is an integral part of mindfulness training. Being open to your resources is important, but ultimately learning to hear and trust your own knowing is all you really have. Stepping into being you, and living your life through listening and trusting yourself allows you to take responsibility for your life.
Mindfulness is an activity of non-doing. No purpose, no goal, other than to be yourself during your meditation practice. If we have any idea of where we “should be” or what we want to accomplish, we are setting up striving for a goal.
Acceptance is seeing things as they actually are in the present. Acceptance doesn’t mean you have to like it or have a passive attitude or abandon your values or principles. It merely means that you come to an awareness of seeing things as they are in this moment (without judgments, desires and/or fears).
- Letting Go
Letting go is about non-attachment. Often we want to “hold on” to pleasant thoughts or “push away” unpleasant thoughts or experiences. Rather than be attached to the outcome, we let our experience be what it is, observing it in this moment.
Kabet-Zinn, J. (1990, 2013). Full Catastrophe Living. New York City: Random House Publishing Group.
Tags: Attitudinal foundations, MBSR, Mindfulness, pillars of mindfulness practice
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker
Licensed Independent Mental Health Practitioner
- Janie Pfeifer Watson, LICSW, is the founder and director of Wholeness Healing Center, a mental health practice in Grand Island, Nebraska with remote sites in Broken Bow and Kearney. Her expertise encompasses a broad range of areas, including depression, anxiety, attachment and bonding, coaching, couples work, mindfulness, trauma, and grief. She views therapy as an opportunity to learn more about yourself as you step more into being your authentic self. From her perspective this is part of the spiritual journey; on this journey, she serves as a mirror for her clients as they get to know themselves—and, ultimately, to love themselves.
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