What has remained consistent is the use of meditation in pursuit of greater self-awareness, coupled with a rejection of the egocentric mode of existence.
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As the Buddhist meditation practice has morphed into a billion-dollar industry, it’s become the go-to solution for everything from depression to weight gain.
But while mindfulness is very effective for some, it does absolutely nothing for others, and pushing it on them won’t change that.
Meditating can provide a healthy escape, as long as it is focussed on enabling your ability to solve problems, not your ability to ignore them.
Mindfulness is good for learning the skill of putting on the brakes for a thought loop and noticing the thought loops you get into a lot - very valuable, but that’s only the first step. The next step is, ‘how do I have a different thought? '
The lack of empirical studies on how mindfulness is practiced may lead consumers to be harmed, mislead, or disappointed in the lack of results.
For example, the idea that you should just reject your whole core and all your impulses, may be seen as a formula for depression and anxiety.
There are a lot of other activities that offer the same temporary escape, without attempting to establish a more permanent detachment from the ego.
Exercising, listening to music, playing sports, practicing art, or engaging in any activity that helps temporarily shut out the rest of the world can provide the same sense of relief from stress.
Instructions for mindfulness meditations have been found in ancient texts of nearly every major religion, but it's Buddhism that exemplifies best mindfulness meditation: it cultivates non-judgemental awareness of yourself, your feelings, your mind and your surroundings.
It is based on Buddhist traditions and it's described as "the non-judgmental awareness of experiences in the present moment."
Sit in a quiet place with your eyes closed, focusing on your breath as it moves in and out. It's a way to become familiar with your own mind.
Mindfulness is simply a state, a moment-to-moment awareness of one’s experience. But meditation is just the tool you use to reach that state.
If you are unable to sit still, consider the meditative movement, a practice where instead of just going through the mechanical motions, you focus on the movement itself.
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