The Four Ways of Mindfulness
THE FOUR WAYS OF MINDFULNESS
Mindfulness is a ‘Conscious Clarity’ and an ‘Awakened Awareness’. Mindfulness is our Minds natural ability to be present to what is happening. Our Mindfulness connects us to what is happening externally through our Bodily Senses of seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting and touching. Mindfulness also connects us to what is happening internally within us through our Feelings, Mental States and specific Mental Content. How we know and experience life and how we know we are alive is through the Mind-Body experience of these four areas.
These are the Buddha’s ‘Four Foundations of Mindfulness’: Bodily Experience, Felt Experience, Mental States and Mental Content.
Whilst we all have a degree of Mindfulness for functioning in life, the Buddha emphasised the profound importance of Mindfulness for living consciously, awakening to the Truth of things and realising Freedom. His Teachings are purposed towards the exercise and enhancement of Mindfulness through the Brain-Mind Exercise of Meditation.
What I describe as ‘The Four Ways of Mindfulness’ are particular ways we can both exercise Mindfulness as meditations and also engage Mindfulness in daily life.
These are as follows:
- Mindful Attention: is an ‘exclusive focused attention’ to an object. As a Meditation this engages especially the Left-Brain Mind Mode, leading to concentration and deep Calm. This particularly exercises and strengthens the mind away from mental distractions and inner reactions.
- Mindful Awareness: in an ‘inclusive receptive awareness’ of the ongoing flow of experience, happening for us externally or internally. As a Meditation this particularly engages the Right-Brain Mind Mode, leading to a Receptive Neutral Knowing. This helps to free the mind from thinking, allowing an inner intuitive feeling, sensing, knowing and being. It can lead to insight into the nature of the mind free from self-making and self-centredness.
- Mindful Contemplation: uses the reflective and reflexive capacity of the mind to ‘consciously consider’. As a Meditation this engages both sides of our brain in a Left-Right Brain Mind Mode. This leads to Insightful Understanding and the development of Wisdom.
- Mindful Care: engages our ‘Feeling-Heart’. As a Meditation this particularly engages both sides of our brain in a Left-Right Brain Mind Mode of both thinking and feeling. This leads to the experience of the inner feeling of Kindness, Compassion, Joy and Calm-Care which can then be expressed towards both our self and others.
These ‘Four Ways of Mindfulness’ are available to us all to appreciate and apply; to develop and deepen, especially through our Mindfulness Meditation Practice. They help to free the Mind from psychological distortions and disturbances while developing our Minds Mental Skills and Strengths. The ‘Four Ways of Mindfulness’ also help us to enable, enhance and engage all our Spiritual Values, Virtues, Views and Vision.