Field Notes

Mindfulness and Awareness

September 09, 2017 - 0 Comments

The term mindfulness can be misleading, as it seems for some people to point to thinking which is equated with the mind. Mindfulness is a usual translation of the Pali word ‘sati.’ A truer translation would perhaps be recollective awareness; literally ‘going back and remembering.’ Perhaps just the term awareness is good, too, as it connotes something holistic. Awareness concerns and involves body, mind, heart, perception, sensation, and energetics or life energies (or “spirit”), in short, the whole person. But we can also ask the question: Who or what is aware? Is there an interpreter of the awareness that is associated with the awareness’?


With some people I work with, mindfulness goes as far as, or is considered as, an imaginative exercise.  For others, it is much more than a sense of knowing and feeling. There is a felt sense of a different reality; a direct experience of non-ordinary consciousness. That something can be in the inner world, in the outer world, or anywhere along the continuum between these two, which I see as interconnected, and also perhaps beyond. The mind is important as it quite often turns into being the translator of all that’s happening in the field of mindfulness experience. This translating is thinking. For example, the awareness that I am entertaining all sorts of thoughts. But who I am is different from the sum total of thinking, especially from the repetitive thinking that is associated with anxiety or fretting. In summary, awareness equates to consciousness of being in the world, of the world, and with the world. ‘Real’ thinking is not repetitive and associated with anxiety and tension. It is generative, creative, and associated with excitement, focus, and passion, and contiguous with body experience.

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