Where did the idea of mindfulness come from?

Discover where the concept of mindfulness lies.

Mindfulness has become a bit of a buzzword of late.

Touted for its awareness-enhancing, anxiety-reducing properties, mindfulness practices are being incorporated into all areas of our lives including our work, rest and play.

Major corporations such as Google are incorporating mindfulness training courses into the workplace, while athletes and dancers are incorporating mindful moments into their exercise regimens, and wellness studios are running mindful meditation courses.

But what exactly is mindfulness and where did it originate?

From Buddhist roots

The concept of mindfulness lies at the heart of Buddhist meditation and was first described in the Pāli Canon, a collection of literary, intellectual and spiritual scriptures, which make up the foundation of Theravāda Buddhism.

According to Buddhist philosophy, mindfulness is a distinct quality of paying attention and Buddhists advocate four foundations for practising it: the posture of the body; our feelings and sensations; our state of mind or consciousness; and mental objects or phenomena. Buddhists also differentiate between ‘right’ mindfulness, also known as samma sati, and ‘wrong’ mindfulness, which is known as miccha sati. The difference, they say, is the intention behind the practice: a person practising right mindfulness has positive and good intentions, whereas a person practising wrong mindfulness is coming from a place of self-indulgence and superficial gain.

When practised regularly, mindfulness meditation is believed to enhance our appreciation of life through sustained attention to our immediate experiences.

In the June-July 2017 edition of Australian Natural Health magazine, we separate the fact from fiction, by chatting to two qualified mindfulness experts to explain the definition and sience of mindfulness.


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