Mindfulness Training for Health and Wellbeing

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When I first started to practice mindfulness 20 years ago, I realized very quickly that mindfulness would help me to tune into other sources of intelligence besides my thoughts.

Many years ago, I can recall constantly using my thoughts as my only resource for problem solving. In difficult and challenging circumstances I can remember feeling like my thinking was failing me as I couldn’t seem to come up with solutions to problems that I thought my thoughts could fix. For example, what am I going to do now with the rest of my life. Should I change, move, switch careers etc. were just many of the questions that I tried to handle with my thoughts. I can specifically recall the feeling of sitting and knowing that my thoughts were spinning endlessly without coming to any definitive sense of what to do.

On reflection, I would say that my thinking was out of balance with other ways of knowing. I didn’t understand at the time that there are many more sources of intelligence other than our thoughts. For example body sensations. You will all probably recall a decision made on “gut feel”. Or what about when you recognize intuition….a knowing that is not definable by thoughts and words alone. And then there is the knowing based on the heart. For example, using our emotions as a resource for knowing our experience and what might be called for in any given moment.

In Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction, one of the main mindfulness practices is a body scan where you systematically move your attention through different parts of the body. Rather than thinking about body sensations, you are asked to feel them as they are without trying to change them. You will learn reasonably quickly, that your body is a resource for knowing yourself as you listen to the various sensations. These become doorways for understanding and transformation over time.