15 Questions on Aspects of Mindfulness

1. What is the goal of mindfulness?

The goal is threefold:

    1. To apply clear comprehension and knowledge to daily life issues

    2. To stay mindful and centred with deep empathy for others

    3. To live with ethics, wisdom, and liberation for the welfare of all.

2. Why is mindfulness important?

There is a general sense of turmoil in the world. There appears to be a desperate shortage of wise leadership. Caring and thoughtful people often find it difficult to know how to respond to issues, domestic, social, political or global. There might be hesitations to initiate a project by oneself. We believe such caring people need to become Agents of Change. This will require a depth of mindfulness of issues, dedication and development of wise skills, as well as self-knowledge.

3. What does mindfulness offer?

Mindfulness makes a contribution to level of human potential to live a fully awakened life. We can open our heart, mind and body to profound insights and wisdom. We can develop wise authority/leadership as an important focus. Mindfulness offers methods and techniques for reducing stress, points the way to the resolution of problematic life and provides a depth of inquiry into ultimate and relative truth.

4. What is MBSR?

Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) offers specific mindfulness and meditation methods to enable people to reduce their levels of stress and develop the capacity to work with physical pain in the short and long term. The practices employ breathing exercises, guided meditations, and movement.  An MBSR course generally lasts for a period of eight weeks. Regular practice of MBSR methods contributes to the lessening of anxiety and depression around health issues, the future, and daily life problems. The courses generally take place in small groups, clinics, hospitals, prisons and in various work environments. With its secular base, MBSR has a widespread appeal. It offers specific psychological tools for people to develop. Clinical research has regularly confirmed the benefits of MBSR for the reduction of stress through mindfulness.

5. What is the relationship of mindfulness to the Dharma?

Dharma is a Sanskrit word referring to the teachings and practices that the Buddha offered. The Dharma has an expansive vision starting with ethics, stress reduction and examination of lifestyle. We live in a fragmented, fearful and insecure world. We need to develop deep empathy, social cohesion, and wisdom. We need mindful human beings, who have a quiet sense of authority and leadership, and a willingness to serve others in a variety of ways. Dharma also includes inquiry into diet, money, religious experiences, the sacred, the spiritual and depths of illumination and enlightenment. Our teachings and practices address the inner and the outer equally including the variety of causes and conditions for the arising of suffering and the resolution of suffering. We examine consumerism, social media, questioning of identity and application of our humanity to conflicts, large and small.

 

6. What is the relationship of mindfulness to methods and techniques?

Mindfulness includes a range of tools, techniques, and methods to see and change oneself. Formal mindfulness and meditation serve as a preparation to act wisely in the world. We develop skillful ways to question, respond and address important issues, personal and social. Wise action springs from seeing situations and responding to them. Mindfulness differs from a self-help, self-improvement program. Depths of mindfulness reveal non-self, non-I, non-my for an expansive vision and action.

 

7. What issues are important?

The issues of suffering, personally, socially and in our institutions, matter. Our relationship to each other, near and far, to animals and the environment matter. Explorations and meditations enquire into the formations of thought, self, ego, roles, energy, power of the heart. We examine the conditions for what arises. We examine the emptiness of I and my. Wise action, liberation, the significance of truth and the meaning of an enlightened life confirm the Dharma. We see the limits and benefits of secular, religious and spiritual language.

 

8. Do I need to attend week-long residential retreats for insights into mindfulness and meditation?

We encourage attending such a retreat. Participants can receive personalised attention from Dharma teachers. Teachers can discuss with participants their strengths, their issues and respond to them. Mindfulness/meditation retreats often include

sitting, walking, standing, eating, movement, work periods, guidance and teachings.

9. Do I have to learn to be mindful all the time?

No. It is not humanly possible to be mindful all day and every day. A supportive mindfulness practice will encourage one to explore important aspects of daily life, inner and outer. These issues include in alphabetical order:

  • aging

  • corporations

  • corruption

  • ethics

  • death

  • diet

  • ego

  • environment

  • family

  • health

  • identity

  • liberation

  • lifestyle

  • love

  • media

  • money

  • power

  • relationships

  • sex

  • spiritual experiences

  • social media 

10. What supports the development of mindfulness?

Go to classes, courses, workshops, and retreats that you sense will support mindfulness and insights. Maximise your time outdoors in nature. Keep a journal detailing your experiences, qualities, and limitations. Find a person or group with whom you can share your experiences. Read essays/books and listen to audio/Youtube on the development of a wise and compassionate life and engage in service to others.

11. What are some of the functions of mindfulness?

  • Mindfulness addresses the body, feelings, states of mind and the inner-outer world

  • Mindfulness refers to our capacity to apply mindfulness to issues of past, present, and future for clarity and a wise and caring response.

  • Mindfulness belongs to a body of teachings including ethics, inwardly and outwardly.

  • Mindfulness reduces stress, develops empathy and prepares the inner life for insights and realisations.

  • Mindfulness points to a depth of inquiry into self, identity, ‘us’ and ‘them’ and emptiness of ego.

  • Mindfulness makes accessible completely fresh ways of seeing situations.

  • Mindfulness contributes to wisdom, compassion and a liberated way of life

  • Mindfulness supports the inquiry into ultimate and conventional truth.

12. What are some important aspects of a comprehensive approach to mindfulness and wisdom
 Ethics, meditation, wisdom, and transformation, inner and outer.

  1. Eating/Diet

  2. Ethics, personal, social and corporate

  3. Facilitation of Groups

  4. Horizontal Position

  5. Leadership

  6. Lifestyle

  7. Listening

  8. Meditation for Calm and Insight

  9. Mindful postures/working with pain.

  10. Movement/Dancing

  11. One to One Sessions

  12. Reading

  13. Sitting

  14. Spiritual experiences

  15. Standing

  16. Talking

  17. Teaching

  18. Use of mobile phones/various devices

  19. Walking,

  20. Work tasks

13. How does one step into the role of a mindfulness teacher?

Some people have a love for the mindfulness practices but fear to go deep into mindfulness/associated teachings and fear to share their insights and wisdom with others.

Others feel they lack a deep connection with a religious tradition or lineage or need years of training before becoming ready to become mindfulness teachers. Others fear their ego will only grow if they take on the role of a teacher. These are important concerns. It is not always easy to discern clarity of mind from the fearful mind.

There are training programs to be a mindfulness teacher. As with any role, you need dedication and love of people to give your best. Mindfulness contributes to a heartfelt clarity of the priorities for people, animals, and the environment. Care and support for others go a long way to developing long-standing connections.

There are a growing number of people facilitating mindfulness courses around the world. The best teachers of mindfulness continue to develop their experience of mindful living, insights, and knowledge. They remain committed to enquire into issues affecting the lives of people. As you teach, your experience, skills, and insights develop further.

The best of teachers never forget their role as students of life. The step into the teacher role requires an act of trust. Focus, empathy, interest, and determination contribute to the freeing up of the voice for the welfare and benefit of others. Confidence grows through the process of teaching and learning more every day.

As with others, mindfulness teachers face a range of challenges including personal issues, tensions in relationships, financial problems and various pressures.

Mindfulness teachers continue to work on themselves and do not hesitate to seek out the wise counsel of others. Through the depth of practice, there is no longer the interest to deny any faults or failings. There is an ongoing commitment to an awakened life.

14. What kinds of organisations are available for mindfulness courses?

You can find the opportunity to teach mindfulness and associated practices in areas of social concern, various facilities and organisations as:

  1. Animal Welfare

  2. Businesses

  3. Charities

  4. Clinics

  5. Conflict Resolution

  6. Corporations

  7. Creative Projects

  8. Cruises

  9. Diet

  10. Factories

  11. Fitness Schools

  12. Foundations

  13. Gyms

  14. Health Clubs

  15. Hospitals

  16. Hotels

  17. International Development

  18. Lifestyle

  19. Non-violent Activism

  20. Outdoor activities

  21. Places of religious worship

  22. Politicians

  23. Prisons

  24. Psychology

  25. Relationships

  26. Religious institutions

  27. Retirement homes

  28. Retreat centers

  29. Schools

  30. Science, neuroscience

  31. Social Services

  32. The Arts

  33. Training in sports

  34. Yoga centers

15. What is expected of a person dedicated to mindful living and wise action?

A moderate lifestyle, daily acts of kindness and a real contribution to the welfare of others.

A mindfulness practitioner and teacher develops a caring and considerate attitude towards others, the application of patience and the willingness to reflect on the challenges of commitments, values, and the role.

There is a growing capacity to show genuine concern for others. Mindful discussion of differences of view remains a priority.

Regular contact with other caring facilitators/leaders/teachers/ committed to change will stimulate fresh ideas and insights.

You have the potential to make an important contribution towards people living mindful lives with empathy and wisdom.

Yours truly,

Christopher Titmuss

 

christopher@insightmeditation.org

www.anengagedlife.org

www.christophertitmuss.net

www.insightmeditation.org

 

 

  May all beings live mindfully  

If you have any questions, please contact us

 Christopher Titmuss's Blog and other Websites

1. www.christophertitmussblog.net  Critiques, issues, politics, book reviews etc 

2. www.anengagedlife.org What you need to know to live an engaged life

 

3. www.insightmeditation.org Dharma teachings, annual schedule…

 

4. www.christophertitmuss.net  Books, Videos, Audio Teachings ...

 

5. www.MeditationinIndia.org  annual Sarnath February Retreats and other retreats...

6. www.dharmayatraworldwide.org  Annual Pilgrimage in late July in southern France.

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