Everyone passes on the advice to practice mindfulness/ meditation daily. The practice makes one happy, wise, calm and relaxed. The practice helps achieve optimum well-being and managing or minimizing many known and unknown illnesses and challenges.
You might have researched about mindfulness on Google and started practicing it either from the app or YouTube videos or marketing professionals claiming 1m-5m-10 m practice.
The tradition of meditation was present much before Buddha was born
Not many people know that Eastern Wisdom which is more 6000 years old Indian tradition has roots of mindfulness, meditations, and other related practices. Buddhism, Jainism, Hinduism, Tantra, Non-Dual, Yoga, Mantra has one or more forms of meditation practices. It is important to mention for western readers that meditation / mindfulness was discovered when there was no religion. The Western people have labeled it originating mainly from Buddhism, but meditation/mindfulness was practiced 4000 years before Buddha was born.
People who like mindfulness/meditation did everything to secularize it, but it is already secular and free from religion, cult, dogma, and belief
Many people found immense benefits of the practice of mindfulness/meditation. Some people claim repetition of mantra induces relaxation and peace. Others declare that 5 minutes breath mindfulness practices helped reduce anxiety and lowered blood pressure. Still, others found the practice meets the purpose of life.
People who practice and love mindfulness/meditation practice have made all efforts to secularize it because they realized by doing so, they can claim that what practice they are doing is free from religion. We should understand that technology is always free from religion and cult. Mindfulness/meditations were born as secular and practiced as technology. The technology of the modern age is what meditation / mindfulness was 6000 years old Indian traditional wisdom.
We do not need to secularize by our irrational arguments, because mindfulness is secular since its discovery.
How can science define mindfulness/meditations?
Science cannot define love, honesty, wisdom and the state of being. It is a hard problem of consciousness. They cannot define consciousness. Science aims at unfolding the objective reality. The scientific approach is objective whereas mindfulness/ meditation is purely subjective.
Science looks outside to discover – what we are not? Objective reality. Mindfulness/ meditation looks inside – Who am I? The subjective reality. Google the definitions of mindfulness/ meditation from scientists and researchers; we find their definitions heavily depends on what they know about the science, i.e., objective reality.
“Meditation is generally used as a broad umbrella term that covers a wide array of contemplative practices, many of which are drawn from Buddhist traditions but have often been adapted and secularized for application in Western society,”
The fact is that contemplation may or may not be a step of mindfulness/ meditation practice. Mindfulness we have said earlier is already a secular practice.
The article “ What Meditation Can—and Can’t—Do for Your Health” in which David Vago, Ph.D., research director of the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine and director of the Contemplative Neuroscience and Integrative Medicine Laboratory at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, says to the author “We still don’t have any single authoritative definition or source that defines mindfulness in a way that’s accepted by all researchers in a contemporary context,” tells SELF.
Then, how mindfulness/ meditation continued for more than 6000 years. There are more than 3000 teachers, and texts explain the definitions of mindfulness/ meditation which part of Eastern Wisdom is. Every master taught the same principles differently. Every master said that they learned these principles from the tradition.
What we are searching in the modern age that definition of mindfulness/meditation, should conform to the objective narrative of the science. How can one, define ‘who am I’ with ‘who am I not?’
Before they can define what is mindfulness/meditations, science has yet to define – who am I? They like to argue the contradictions in the steps of the mindfulness/ meditation practices by different masters but total ignored the hard problem of consciousness, which they cannot define and understand.
I am not criticizing the science; I have been a student of science – physics, chemistry, physiology, and psychology. I love and understand the remarkable progress; the science has made in the last 200 years. My Himalayan master mentored me for more than 26 years in Eastern Wisdom. It became clear that mindfulness/meditations aim at the discovery of self-i.e. real nature or pure consciousness or the state of being.
Many practices, different steps, the same principles, and one goal
There are many ways we approach the study of mindfulness and its practice. Buddhist approach starts with four noble truths to understand how the mind works upon us in our daily life. We think, speak and work the same way for days, weeks, months and years still expecting the different results. We try to fit mindfulness in our daily life without working on the mind. The great masters say that we will never succeed in the journey. However, some benefits like reducing anxiety, depression, pain, etc. cannot be ruled out.
Masters of Eastern Wisdom say that we study the four noble truths to study our mind so that we can start working on the mind. The journey of mindfulness begins when we know how to work on the mind. The breath awareness or paying attention to breath is one way to do so.
After the student’s studies eightfold, noble path to purify the mind. The purification of mind takes place by the first six steps. The purification in Eastern Wisdom means mind removes the wrong notions about the self and non-self, subjective and objective reality so that he can start the mindfulness practice which is the seventh of the noble eightfold path.
There is another approach
- Learn the principles of mindfulness concerning subjective and objective reality
- Contemplate to help the mind to remove wrong notions
- Practice with wisdom to prevent becoming mechanical
- Learn from experiences
Still, there is another approach to mindfulness
- Recognize the restlessness of mind
- Understand subjective, objective states of mind
- Know what is a mind concerning the outer world and innermost consciousness
- Understand how to work on the mind
- Start the practice and continue until self is revealed
to be continue