“Mindfulness” is a word that is sweeping the Western world. Borrowed from Buddhism, this practice has been big in the Mental Health professions. For instance, the importance of Mindfulness has been offered to Psychologists by Zen Master, Thich Nhat Hanh. He chose to put himself into exile from Vietnam, speaking in USA initially but eventually internationally, about the fact that the Vietnamese did not want the war. It was the North and South governments that were willing to sacrifice people in the conflict. Master Hanh also conducted workshops on Mindfulness meditation to many Psychologists.
Also, Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn among others pioneered mindfulness at the Stress Center at University of Massachusetts Medical School. I think they might have called it awareness training, because the training is all about awareness being fixed on the breath or the breathing body. We may assume that awareness is something of the mind. Yet, Kabat-Zinn points out that during awareness of the breath, one gets drawn to thought coming into the mind. At this point, Kabat-Zinn says: “we may have a tiny taste of enlightenment, as we observe the thoughts of the mind moving in like waves of the ocean.”
Most of us can talk about awareness as a sensing that we are on target with an intention to meditate. Yet, how are we aware? This is dealt with in detail in my previous blog, below this. (I find this a bit awkward but it seems common practice in “Blog-land.”) Nevertheless, the Buddha has seen the mind as one of the senses, like touch, taste, smell, etc.. We may ask: “How does the mind ‘sense’ other than perception?” This may have been answered in Psychological research but we can take a common sense perspective.
Dr Ken Wilber talked about Transcending, years ago. His idea was that as the child learns to ride a bicycle, they are aware of how pedestrians walk, and they can make adjustments. This same person learns to drive a car and has a similar perspective of cyclists. Later, the motorist learns to fly an aircraft and has a look from above at his hometown. This is Wilber’s idea of transcending to a lofty view, where the flyer can get back in his car and virtually anticipate around the next corner. This was Wilber’s way of talking about transcending.
I my book, Street Smarts for Challenging Times, I talked of a committee of selves and I called the convenor a “Sun Centre.” This was a cautious way of hinting at a spiritual being having a physical experience, playing all its roles in committee. I was alert that if I mentioned the word “spirit,” people would drop the book, thinking this is about “religion.” We have all had the experience of what amounts to a sales pitch from a person, although misguided in their approach is attempting to sell us on their solution to what they perceive as a need to clarify the suffering in humanity from aberrations in the mass subconscious. Nevertheless, we need a lofty perspective of transcendence, so that we can discern with our spirit, I call it Heart.
Is it beyond our capacity to see with our Hearts, or spirits, to discern what is in our awareness so we might take corrective action? I don’t think so. Just as the motorist can “see around corners,” our spirit can take the lofty transcendent view sensing the required action. When this happens, we have a chance to enjoy the outcome and/or smile perceiving an inspiring outcome for another. For me this is like, letting go of the seat of my son’s bicycle as he moves ahead faultlessly, and realizes the feeling of “look Dad, no hands!”