What is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness, self-remembering, aware presence, the awakened state--these are terms that refer to an altered state of consciousness that can be learned by practicing exercises that are designed to show a person how.

This altered state is characterized by a vivid and tangible experience of being in the present, a heightened sense of dwelling inwardly in one's body as a whole and feeling what the body is doing, a sharpened and heightened clarity of the five ordinary senses, and the ability to achieve an unbiased and highly objective perspective of life, grounded in direct experiencing alone.

The experience is a pleasant one, although slightly unusual-seeming in the beginning. One quickly gets over the surprise of it, yet the enjoyment of shifting into this state of consciousness from one's ordinary "normal" state of mind can last a lifetime.

Mindfulness is considered by some to be a "natural high." This concept could be confusing because the awakened state is not like any drug experience, nor hypnotism, nor any other kind of mental alteration or disciplining that is known. It is a simple, relaxed state of natural clarity and focus in which the subtle nature of reality "stands up in high relief."

It is widely regarded by those who have experienced this state of consciousness that mindfulness lies at the heart of experiencing and understanding the secrets and inner truths that are associated with all mystical, spiritual, and metaphysical systems. The simple experience of mindfulness, itself, answers many questions.

Why is this experience so little known in the sophisticated world of today, where information is exchanged so freely and easily on the Web? The answer to this is that, by far, most people don't want to know. If they have ever heard of mindfulness, or awareness, most people will say that they'd just rather stay with the ordinary consciousness that they already have, thank you.

Teachers of this ancient art have not been eager over the centuries to let the secret of awareness out and have it be shared in by the common, ordinary folks. So the understanding of this awakened state has remained almost exclusively in the "inner circles" of hidden schools that teach this "esoteric" knowledge.

It has been argued that this powerful secret might "fall into the wrong hands," or that ordinary people "wouldn't be able to handle it." But this does not appear to have been borne out in the experiences of those who are familiar with this practice. On the contrary, it can be valuable for *anyone* to learn to use mindfulness in their daily life.

And perhaps the most peculiar property about this experiential phenomenon, is that it appears that the growth and proliferation of mindfulness in a person's life depends proportionally on that person's ability to love. This is why the teaching of mindfulness is most commonly associated with spiritual approaches that are grounded on an ethical foundation of altruism and love.

Learning how to love means divesting one's self of the more selfish and more violent propensities that one may have. It is the removal of these conditioned tendancies (this automatic, conditioned, "ego-driven self") that actually makes room for mindfulness to grow in a human body and become accessible more easily on a daily and even hourly basis.

Teaching Tools for Mindfulness Training will present clear explanations in simple modern English terms, coaching tips that come from many years of practicing and teaching this experience to others, and coached experiential exercises that one can do at home, that will enable any person who is interested to learn what mindfulness is.


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