Learning about True Mindfulness
Part of the Mindfulness For Dummies Cheat Sheet (UK Edition)
Mindfulness is more than a set of techniques to practice. Mindfulness is about questioning your identity and relationship to the world around you. By understanding who you are at a deeper level, you are less affected by negative emotions, thoughts or physical sensations – you’re tackling the root of the problem. For these reasons, it’s worth spending some time and effort to find out for yourself who you truly are. Try this:
Notice that your thoughts come and go. You are aware of your thoughts. You are that which is aware of thoughts – not the thoughts themselves.
Notice that your emotions come and go too. You are aware of the emotion rather than being the emotion itself. You are the observer of the emotion.
Observe that although your attention moves from one thing to another, your sense of being aware is always present. You’re always aware of something. Awareness is always on, and completely effortless. You are that awareness itself.
Reflect on the statement: ‘I cannot be that which I observe’. Just as your eye is not the book, because the eye is observing the book, so you are not your thoughts, emotions, sensations, perceptions because you are observing them. You are the witness of them. As the witness you are completely free of them.
Be as you are. You cannot become yourself, for you already are yourself! So, just relax and be as you are – effortless awareness. Awareness is your natural state – what you always have been and always will be.
One of the most famous sages of the 20th Century, Nisargadatta put is this way: Discover all that you are not – body, feelings, thoughts, time, space, this or that – nothing, concrete or abstract, which you perceive can be you. The very act of perceiving shows that you are not what you perceive.