In Buddhism, Wise Mindfulness is one of the contemplation components of the Eightfold Path. Wise Mindfulness, also known as being Aware, Awake and Conscious. It is a crucial aspect of Buddhist practice, emphasising the cultivation of present-moment awareness and clear comprehension. The approach to practicing Wise Mindfulness involves being fully attentive and aware of one’s experiences in the present moment without judgment, resistance or attachment. It involves developing a deep understanding of the mind and body, as well as the nature of reality.
Some of the key aspects of the Buddhist approach to Wise Mindfulness:
- Present-moment awareness: This encourages individuals to be fully present and aware of their thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and the surrounding environment in the present moment. It involves observing experiences as they arise, persist, and pass away without getting caught up in them. Similar to the Yogic approach in practice.
- Non-judgmental observation: It is essential to observe experiences without judgment or evaluation. Rather than labelling experiences as good or bad, Wise Mindfulness encourages impartial observation, allowing things to be as they are, and accepting the present moment without resistance. Again similar to the Yogic approach to whatever arises releasing the egos (Asmita) involvement in adding to the story or commentary (Samskaras) and refraining from resistance (Dvesa).
- Cultivating detachment: With a connection to one’s Buddha Nature, this development of a sense of detachment is coming from a place of love. It is key to recognise whatever arises as an experience, whether positive or negative, that everything is subjected to impermanence, to change. By developing detachment, individuals can avoid clinging to pleasant experiences or resisting unpleasant ones, thereby reducing suffering. This is also like Dvesa-Aversion and Raga-Attachment.
- Awareness of the body: Wise Mindfulness involves being aware of the physical sensations and processes occurring in the body. This awareness helps individuals develop a deeper understanding of the mind-body connection and cultivates a sense of groundedness in the present moment. To repose in consciousness embodied in the here and now. Very similar to what we do in our Yoga Asana practice proprioception and interoception.
- Mindful breathing: Paying attention to the breath is a common technique used in both Buddhism and Yoga. This is used to help individuals anchor their awareness in the present moment, self-regulating the nervous system by shaping the breath and therefore shaping the mind and body. As a result the practitioner can cultivate a calm and centred state of mind.
- Mindfulness in daily activities: Suggesting to extend this off the mat and integrate Mindfulness into daily activities such as eating, walking, working, and interacting with others. By bringing mindfulness to every aspect of life, individuals can cultivate a continuous state of awareness, acceptance and clarity in the nature of reality and how to respond to life (Wise Action) as one moves forward in the journey.
- Cultivating insight: Wise Mindfulness is not just about observation; it also aims to develop insight, learn from experiences, gain knowledge and a connect to an innate wisdom into the nature of reality and the true nature of self. Through sustained mindfulness practice, individuals can gain deeper insights into the truth of impermanence, reality of how consistent life is unsatisfactory and how humans behave like humans. We all are ignorant, greedy, selfless, attached and unkind, having the potential to harm others because of these undesirable attributes. By observing these within ourselves and forming a mindful relationship with allowing our humanity within us to arise, there can be a profound shift in understanding not only ourselves but the world.
Overall, the Buddhist approach to Wise Mindfulness involves training the mind to be fully present, non-judgmentally aware, and detached with love from clinging and aversion. By cultivating this quality of mindfulness, individuals can develop a clearer understanding of themselves and the world, leading to greater peace, insight, and liberation from suffering.