Mindfulness is a complicated word in that there are different types of understanding to it. In fact, the practice of mindfulness, like yoga has inspired different types of courses aimed at different types of maladies from one original practice. Mindfulness is training for the mind. We can train the body and many have dedicated their lives to training their bodies so it maintains their youthfulness, beauty, and health. But we all know the consequence of being enamored with our bodies. There is only one direction where the body is heading daily, and that is its decay. Some may find such a statement negative. But if we look deeply, the facts that we term negative are things we do not wish to accept. Non-acceptance is a result of wanting what is impossible – such as eternal life in a forever healthy physical body. Mindfulness teaches us to stay calm amidst all the instabilities of our experiences, including death. But why are there so many types of mindfulness?
Types of Secular Mindfulness Courses
The most famous of all secular mindfulness courses is Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR). It was born out of the University of Massachusetts for the chronically ill. MBSR is used to manage general stress. There is also mindfulness for those suffering from depression. The aim of Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) helps the chronically depressed from suffering relapse. There is also the Mindfulness Self-Compassion (MSC) course. MSC helps practitioners develop emotional resilience. Another emerging course is Mindfulness-Based Strategic Awareness Training (MBSAT). MBSAT targets the workplace to help practitioners make better decisions. What makes one decision better than another? A decision that does not cause regret is a good decision. Think about your last moments alive or if you should fall ill and lie in bed for long periods of time. What kind of thoughts will arise in these moments? Some people may think lying to others for one’s gain is a good decision. But would such a decision cause you regret and dread at the end of your life?
Which Mindfulness Course Should I Choose?
Although there are many types of secular mindfulness courses out there, there is only one mindfulness practice. The ancient form of mindfulness practice teaches meditation to calm the mind. A calm mind becomes aware of the decisions it makes that cause harm to oneself and others. A harmful decision always leaves a mark on the body, sometimes manifested as pain and discomfort. Mind affects the body as the body affects the mind. When it is the body that affects the mind, the trained mind learns not to harm itself by not resisting the situation. In this way, there is compassion for one’s own resistance. When the mind becomes cognizant that resistance brings much more discomfort than is necessary, it learns to accept and to let go.
As you can see, all mindfulness courses teach the same thing. What differentiates them is that they are marketed to different groups of people. The aim of mindfulness is to change the mind’s habits. It teaches the mind to let go of unhelpful habits. Mindfulness courses run for 8-weeks but it takes more than that to change the mind. Just as some of us are willing to spend our life going to the gym to work out a few times a week, the practice of mindfulness also needs to be regular. Why is an 8-week mindfulness course insufficient?
We all know the saying, ‘A leopard never changes its spots.’ This saying is true but yet untrue. True in the sense that some people go on with harmful addictions despite the harm it brings. But it is untrue they cannot change. Perhaps they have not found something that gives a similar feeling of peace and security. All of us are dependent on something for our wellbeing – it can be money, another person, or health. Mindfulness teaches the mind to be peaceful and independent of addiction with love and compassion. Begin your mindfulness journey with an 8-week course.
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