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"Mindfulness isn’t achieving a blank mind, withdrawing from life, having no emotions, escaping from pain, or achieving enlightened bliss. It’s actually being in the best working relationship possible with what comes our way. "

—Nancy Christie

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Nancy Christie: Living on Automatic: Helpful and Not Helpful
Nancy Christie: Mindfulness Practice: Why the Buzz?
Nancy Christie: Taking Care of Stress on a Day to Day Basis

Mindfulness Practice: Why the Buzz?

There has been an explosion of interest in Mindfulness Meditation these last few years.

What’s up with all this popular interest in Mindfulness? Mindfulness skills help people with chronic pain, chronic diseases, stress and stress related physical and psychological problems. In short, just about any trouble that we’re having is helped by Mindfulness.

Mindfulness has significantly infiltrated psychotherapy methods in the last few years as well. Psychotherapy has always concerned itself with the states of mind that cause suffering. So it’s natural and inevitable that Mindfulness principles be incorporated with psychotherapy methods.

My clients are pleasantly surprised by how such a deceptively simple approach reduces suffering and promotes positive personal transformation. That’s because Mindfulness can change how we respond to the unavoidable difficulties that life throws at us. Training the mind changes the brain. We get beneficial changes in how we feel, physically, emotionally and mentally.

Mindfulness is a special human capacity, the ability to be conscious and aware. We all use it in our lives to some extent. If we can master sustained moment- by- moment awareness, especially in the really tough times, suffering can be dramatically reduced. By having an attitude of taking time and then simply noticing, without judgment, correction, criticism or interpretation what we are experiencing right here and now, we are meditating. This creates a healthy dual awareness; our noticing self is separate from the experience. We no longer immerse in a painful experience and we more readily feel satisfaction from a positive experience.

Why is something so simple and so beneficial, so difficult for us then? Could it be that we’re all swept up with doing, having and thinking so much in our inner lives that our minds are like ping pong balls, bouncing all over, trying to keep up? Aren’t so many of us thinking of the past and the future and racing from one thing to the next? All too often we rush through what we’re doing in the moment to get to the ‘good stuff’ ahead of us.

Being mindful is being present. We don’t want a stark awareness of things that are already painfully difficult. We need soft, calm, accepting, compassionate awareness. Mindfulness isn’t achieving a blank mind, withdrawing from life, having no emotions, escaping from pain, or achieving enlightened bliss. It’s actually being in the best working relationship possible with what comes our way. Then we can peacefully abide in the midst of whatever happens.

The only way to really understand what Mindfulness can do for you is to practice it. A deeply personal path of discovery is there for anyone who wants to transform suffering into serenity.

Nancy Christie, Mindfulness Psychotherapist

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