Mindfulness as Therapy

The practice of mindfulness is as powerful as the best psychotherapy. This is because it has the same purpose but provides more effective tools, tools that have developed over thousands of years of Buddhist philosophy. The purpose of both mindfulness practice and psychotherapy is to ease our suffering by changing our understanding, of ourselves as individuals and of our human lives.

The practice of mindfulness is the practice of living in the here and the now, turning our attention towards our present experience and away from our thoughts of the future and the past. We try to get out of our head, so to speak, and out of other people’s heads, to stop ruminating on their last critical remark or trying to anticipate their reaction to what we will say. And we redirect ourselves to our senses, our perceptions, our own direct experience of being alive. Having our attention on our thoughts of the past and the future tends to feed our anger and anxiety, and interferes with our functioning and our happiness.

The practice of mindfulness is the practice of accepting what we feel and perceive without judging it. When we judge something we can not see it clearly, we cannot understand it. This is because by judging something as good or bad we are already stuck in a wrong understanding of it, and we are not open to awareness of other facets of it.

What does it mean to generate the energy of mindfulness in order to look deeply in order to understand? It means that only once we have learned to accept and embrace our painful emotions can we gain insight into their source and their solution.