Mindfulness-Based Stillness Meditation: Being present in a state of open and undistracted awareness.
When her biographer questioned Mother Teresa about her prayers to God, she replied:
“If I ever feel the need to speak to God in prayer, there are only two words that need to be said: thank you!”
Recognizing Spirituality in Simple Things & Every Moment of Being
If we think of spirit as being immanent or dwelling in the world, then mindfulness meditation is a wonderful way of turning our attention toward spirit. Mindfulness pays attention to what exists, here and now. It shifts attention away from memory, imagination, ideas and concepts. Where excessive thinking takes our attention away from the world, mindfulness brings our attention back.
The practice of MBSM (Mindfulness-Based Stillness Meditation) steadily creates more feelings of compassion and connectedness, without even trying. Mindfulness recognizes the spirituality in simple things and in every moment of being.
Having More, Knowing More, Doing More Will Bring Happiness?
The inherent myth of a purely materialistic life is the belief that if we have more, know more and do more we will be happy. Self-development and fulfillment are equated with adding things on to who we are. These things might be possessions, status, knowledge and power.
This materialistic myth creates the addictive mind-set we call the “more syndrome.” The more syndrome keeps alive the hope and dream that just a bit “more” will bring happiness. But this type of happiness never seems to last. It never seems to completely satisfy. It always leaves us with the sense of still needing a bit more.
The more syndrome keeps us running toward an imagined happiness and away from some imagined suffering, but the constant running itself creates suffering. The running keeps us out of touch with our spirit. We probably all know of people who have everything or who have immense power but are still unhappy.
Healing the Addictive Mind-Set of "More"
MBSM heals the addictive mind-set of the more syndrome by giving our full attention to what actually exists, rather than what could or should be. The mindful act of surrendering to what is already here slows the momentum of the more syndrome. Through this act of surrender we can begin to appreciate what we already have instead of always running toward what we do not have. The spiritual quality of gratitude awakens naturally as the more syndrome winds down.
Dr. John Grey, the author of Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus, wrote an earlier book called How to Get What You Want and Want What You Have. What a great title, what a wonderful sentiment! The market is already flooded with books about how to get what you want. Through the practice of mindfulness, gratitude develops as we connect with the life that we already have and accept this moment, right now. Then through intentional meditation, we can further develop the quality of gratitude.
Reconnecting To Our Spirit
A contracted body and a busy thinking mind keep us disconnected from our natural, inherent spirituality. The various facets of a contracted body and a busy mind are:
The “mind-created me,” which consists of all the images, roles, conditioning, attachments and misidentifications that, together, create a fixed idea of self. In Ramana Maharshi’s terms these are all the other thoughts that solidify the initial “I” thought.
The “more syndrome,” which keeps us running and struggling for a happiness that is always just out of reach. This syndrome comes from an unconscious addiction to goal-setting, itself a symptom of deeper unsatisfied cravings.
“Problem saturation,” which comes from the habit of constantly criticizing, judging, finding fault and trying to fix or improve everything.
“Emergency mode” as a habit of perception, which keeps us constantly guarded, defensive and reactive.
“Holding on to the past,” which can take many forms — all of which are derived from an attachment to the contents of memory.
Meditation and the Spiritual Path
MBSM awakens our spiritual nature in these four simple ways:
1. It creates connection with our body, emotions, mind and spirit. It also connects us with others and with life.
2. It enables us to be aware of the good in ourselves, in others and in life.
3. It awakens a sense of gratitude for our life and for all life.
4. It opens our heart with love and compassion for ourselves, for others and for all living beings.
Reprinted with permission of the publisher,
Jeremy P. Tarcher/Penguin, a member of Penguin Group (USA).
©2011 Dr. Ian Gawler & Paul Bedson. www.us.PenguinGroup.com.
Meditation -- An In-Depth Guide
by Ian Gawler & Paul Bedson.
About the Authors
Ian Gawler is a pioneer in the therapeutic application of meditation. He is one of Australia's best known cancer survivors and advocates of a healthy lifestyle. His story offers hope and inspiration to people across the country. He is the author of the bestselling books Meditation Pure & Simple, Peace of Mind, and You Can Conquer Cancer. He is the founder of The Gawler Foundation of Melbourne, Australia.
Paul Bedson is a counselor, psychotherapist, meditation instructor, and natural therapist. He has been working in the field of mind/body medicine for more than twenty years. He teaches Mindfulness-based styles of meditation which develop wisdom and compassion through awareness of body, emotion, mind and spirit as one integrated Self.