Mindfulness is a word that’s currently used to mean a lot of different things.
I tend to understand it as noticing content of experience. The content of experience that’s here now, whether it’s sensory experiences and imaginations of sensory experiences (aka mental images, sounds and images making up words, sounds, taste, smell, sensations).
Why would we do that? I can find a few different reasons:
I get to notice how sensory experiences and imagination combine. For instance, I get to see how sensations combine with imagination to lend this imagination a sense of solidity and reality, and how imagination gives a sense of meaning to sensations.
It helps me shift from thinking to noticing thought. It helps me shift out from being caught in thinking. More precisely, it helps attention shift out of being caught in the content of stories and instead notice that these are imaginations and stories.
It helps me relate to all this in a more intentional way. For instance, I can more intentionally relate to my own reactivity (velcro, beliefs, identifications). It gives me a little more space to recognize that I can relate to my own experience and reactions in a more intentional way. I don’t have to automatically act on whatever is triggered in me.
It helps me notice that what’s here is already noticed and already allowed. This content of experience is already noticed and allowed, and noticing this helps shift the “center of gravity” to that noticing and allowing already here. It’s already built into experience.
It helps me notice what’s here, so I can take it to inquiry and explore it further.
To me, mindfulness is just one aspect of this exploration. In one way, it’s a helpful stepping stone to further exploration. In another way, it’s an essential element of any exploration of our experience, reality, and who and what we are.
- why notice sensory input and imagination
- notice how they combine
- shift out of being caugth in imagination (thoughts, stories) to notice imagination
- notice how relate to, relate to more consciously (less automatically)
- notice so can take to inquiry as needed
As usual, this is just what comes to mind for me now. I am sure there is a lot I have left out either because I forgot or haven’t brought it to my attention yet.