The Seven Attitudes of Mindfulness

The Seven Attitudes of Mindfulness

Daniela da Silva

Since I was little my mother used to say that my problem at times was that 'I thought I knew everything'

She was right, as often mother's are.

For many years I resented the strict South-American-Japanese parenting that I've received, they were no much praises, approval or applauses. When someone remarked our looks as children our parents did not reinforce them, instead they smile and added 'that the most important thing was that we were anatomically and mentally perfect! I wasn't paid tributes on birthdays or when I successfully completed another year at school, only a sober: Congratulations, I am happy that you are healthy, remember to thank God for your life! 

We all grew up, with exception of our twin brothers, they departed earlier, and despite our flaws, as a family we all became independent at the age of 14 years old more or less. All of us! and still following the South-American-Japanese tradition, we feel and act responsible for our mom and youngest, me being the second eldest puts me in a elevate hierarchal position and this structure add a lot to my responsibility. In the upside it feels good to have the respect, unconditional support, loyalty and love of my sisters. In case we are having a more heated conversation at the table my mother always take my side and interfere: Respect your older sister! And they generally tune down their tones (I know, LOL!). 

There's a biological trigger that allow us to select leaders, applying various physical, emotional and psychological criteria adapted to when and where we live, or following family hierarchy. As a race we are all fine if the leader of the group eats first, chose the mate, have privileges and this trend translates in our modern days in bosses, who earn bigger salaries as in the special treatments and rewards that we offer to those who exceed in any area. We all ok with it, because following these privileges comes also duty. A leader was the first to eat, but also the first to die in event of attack...In case of vulnerability, war, disaster the leader is expected to save and comfort its keens...

A true leader at least, such as Madre Theresa, M.L King etc. None of us would have any problem giving them special treatments and payouts, because they fullfilled well their duties and did not misuse power. (Please enquire about mindfulness for leadership workshop) 

Sometimes I used to complain about my upbringing until one day a wise woman who happens to be the grandmother of my daughter said: 

-Perhaps you think that you should have had more attention growing up, but I am not entirely sure, as I look at you and your sisters I am proud for the women you all became, and I can only attribute that to your mother, that with little resources taught you all to be resilient, respectful, non-entitled and still light-hearted.

As she said that I was holding my baby in my arms, and frankly I felt a bit misunderstood, and raised my own child in a totally different fashion. Over one decade later, I see that overprotection is not helpful but harmful. I thought I knew better, but I was wrong...

My I-ALREADY-KNOW attitude persisted as I went to formalise my mindfulness studies. I told myself that I've research so much on the subject that I was only going there to inconveniently spend time in a classroom to hear information perhaps below my level of understanding...One of this 'formalities' that society imposes on all of us. 

And I was wrong once more...because that course taught me a little bit more about myself, and gave some more psychological tools to keep building myself. 

My favourite lessons: Acceptance and letting go, two qualities deeply connected with self esteem and rationality as Nathaniel Branden, brilliant mind, described in details on his extensive work in self esteem.  Below an extract of my paper work on the seven pillars of mindfulness. 

1 Non-judgment

We tend evaluate everything in terms of “good” or “bad” for us. These judgments become automatic. They dominate our minds. As such, this perpetual process of automatic reactions of liking or disliking makes it difficult for us to find peace within ourselves. To engage this attitude of non-judging so that we can begin to better handle stress and gain increased well-being we must gain an awareness of the “yo-yo” effect. After awareness we are invited to watch whatever comes up, including your automatic judging thoughts without pursuing them.

2 Patience

In mindfulness, this pillar involves understanding and accepting that things must unfold in their own time. When we judged all the time or easily became agitated or anxious, we rushed through things. But, with patience, “we treat ourselves as we would treat a butterfly”. No need to rush to get to something “better”. Patience helps us stay connected to the present entirely. With patience, we do not wander into the pas or the future. We do not lose ourselves in that past or future thinking. Patience helps us to accept our wandering tendencies while reminding us that we don’t have to get caught up in its travels.” Patience in effect involves reminding ourselves that we do not need to fill our time with activity, thinking, or judgments. It reminds us that we can do just the opposite. “To be patient is simply to be completely open to each moment, accepting it in its fullness, knowing that things can only unfold in their own time.”

3 Beginner’s mind

This attitude teaches us the “extraordinariness of the ordinary” in our present-moment experiences. It enables us with “a mind that is willing to see everything as if for the first time”. Important for learning and engaging in formal meditation practices, e.g. body scan, yoga, meditation, this type of openness to new experiences allows us to be receptive to new possibilities and prevents us from getting stuck in our own expertise, which often thinks it knows more than it does”. We become less attached to expectations based on past experiences. It reminds us that each moment contains unique possibilities. The beginner’s mind operates as a de-clutterer. With it, we can see, experience, feel, think about the people, places, and things in our universe as they really are and in the now. Our thoughts, opinions, and emotions no longer filter our daily life.

 4 Trust

An integral part of mindfulness practice involves developing trust in our feelings and ourselves. Guidance comes from your own intuition. This pillar invites to look inward, not outward. Trusting in yourself does not mean that you shy away from what you can learn from other sources. Often people or things can offer guides and suggestions. To have an open and receptive approach enables learning from others. However, ultimately we still have to live our own lives, every moment of it. Mindfulness practice involves “taking responsibility for being yourself and learning to listen to and trust your own being”. ‘The more you cultivate this trust in yourself, the easier you will find it will be to trust other people more and to see their basic goodness as well.”

5 Non-striving

Most of our energy and effort occurs for a purpose. We always want to get something, go somewhere. With mindfulness, one goal is to be yourself. But, we already are. Therefore, the attitude of non-striving suggest that we try less and ‘be’ more. We have a tendency to justify: “If I only were calmer . . . . “ or “. . . more intelligent . . . “ or “. . . more of this or more of that . . . . “ Non-striving, simply  allows us to experience anything and everything from moment to moment that exists here, because it already is. With the practice of mindfulness, we embrace and hold in awareness “anything and everything that we experience from moment to moment. An intelligent way to achieve goals involves backing off, and focusing carefully on seeing and accepting things as they are. Using awareness to becomes free from expectations or striving for results as the movement towards our goals occurs by itself.

6 Acceptance 

To deny or resist established facts is a waste of energy. Trying to force things creates tension. And tension prevents positive change from occurring. Acceptance encourages us come to terms with things as they are. Whether it involves a break-up, death, receiving a grievous medical diagnosis, sooner or later we will have to come to terms with those circumstances and accept them. Acceptance is not over tolerance or even satisfaction in face of upsetting circumstances but rather willingness to see things as they are and not as we wish them to be. Acceptance paves the way for real change. We can take appropriate action when we are rooted in reality, this way our judgments, desires, fears, or prejudices no longer can cloud our vision and self esteem.

7 Letting go

Our minds can sometimes be compared to a clenched fist, holding on into patterns and fixed on our experiences. But we can’t be free until we let go as we start to observe moment by moment. With steady practices of meditation for instance, we learn to stop clinging. In mindfulness we let our experience be what it is. “Letting go is a way of letting things be, of accepting things as they are.”

Conclusion

Recently I started to analyse my now different view of my past, enquiring me if I wasn't at the risk of 'romanticise' traumatic past events as a form of suppression.

The conclusion for that is no...I am not denying the difficulties in which I grew up, but in a more psychological-spiritual manner I am in peace with my life, understanding that from a higher point of view everything that happened in my experience was a present that keeps attracting amazing people and circumstances in my life, and elevating me to the powerful energy of gratitude and understanding. 

My past steer on people I have only met a degree of trust and it continue to open many doors, the most important being the door of my heart. 

Thank you, Mother

You are the strongest person I've ever met.

RESPECT | LOVE | LIGHT 

 

Women that I admire:

Juliana big sis! Professor, feminist, activist, animal lover, french speaker (self taught) and intellectual. Björk looks just like her but older and less intereasting. :)

Maki middle sis, Beauty therapist, impeccable discipline, crossfit addict, funny, forgiving, loyal and loving.

Kaori: Little sis, past company 'sales person of the month' for many months during the years she stayed in, currently company 'sales person of the month' (I am serious) Mother of my favourite girl in the world! fierce, independent, confident, fun!

I love you all 

Daniela, 

Namaste

Add a comment