Mindfulness, Awareness and Insight

Mindfulness is a natural human capacity. We are all mindful at times. Mindfulness is a way of paying attention to our moment to moment experience; of being fully present, and of remembering what we value the most.

So, why bother meditating? Why not simply be mindful in daily life?  Because – while it is helpful to remember to be mindful, research strongly suggests that it is the regular practise of mindfulness meditation that turns an occasional state of mindfulness into an enduring trait of mindfulness. Our mindfulness meditation based trainings involve cultivating trait mindfulness, so that awareness and insight can grow.

What is awareness? Aren’t we all “aware?” To varying degrees. Awareness is the part of mind or consciousness that notices, or witnesses experience. The clarity of that awareness and the cultivation of insight are strengthened through the practice of mindfulness meditation.

What is insight? According to the Oxford Dictionary the Middle English origin of the word means “inner sight; wisdom:” It is defined as “The capacity to gain an accurate and deep understanding of someone or something,”  e.g. ‘her mind soared to previously unattainable heights of insight,‘ or, ‘At best, you could gain some insight into how to improve your performance.'”

And so, with greater mindfulness, awareness and insight into our relationship with self, others, and the whole of life we are able to respond with skilful and compassionate action, rather than reacting impulsively to life’s choices and challenges.
Similar to attending to our diet, and strengthening the body through physical exercise, mindfulness meditation requires effort and time. But the rewards are clear.  Research indicates that 20 to 30 minutes of mindfulness meditation per day assists to:
  1. Cultivate and stabilize the capacity to be mindful in daily life;
  2. Manage challenging emotional habitual patterns, rumination, and reactivity;
  3. Increase awareness, insight, resilience and response-ability;
  4. Develop emotional intelligence, emotional regulation and empathy;
  5. Bring long-lasting relief from stress, anxiety, depression and pain;
  6. Reduce compassion fatigue;
  7. Promote greater work/life balance;
  8. Improve focus, attention, work performance and satisfaction.

For more information and research, see The Center for Mindfulness at UMASS and the Oxford University Mindfulness Centre 

Better still, come and see for yourself.

Engage in one of our courses, and learn experientially how mindfulness really can change your mind and life.

MBSR quote

“Mindfulness is the awareness that arises through paying attention, non-judgmentally and in the present moment, to the arising of experience, moment by moment.” Dr. Jon-Kabat Zinn.