From Mindfulness to Mindlessness!

June 23, 2014

The mindfulness revolution has spread across the world like wild fire.Thousands of scientific studies have shown benefits in happiness, concentration, improved health and greater empathy. There is no doubt that the practice of being mindful is a remedy for many of our modern day maladies.

The term mindfulness is used for a certain state of awareness where one becomes aware of the movements of the mind, and realizes that we are in fact separate from the mind. It is also a path to a deeper state of being where the mind becomes transparent or clear, and then becomes a vehicle that transmits the inner world within.
This state is analogous to a turbulent lake that becomes absolutely calm and still, such that the very depths can be seen and clearly.The calm, still mind can be considered a mindless state. Only when the mind is completely empty and devoid of turbulence, can the deeper states be appreciated. The path to mindlessness is that of mindfulness.

This may seem to be just a semantic exercise, however the distinction is a very important one. One cannot simply become mindless by trying to stop the mind and emptying it of all thoughts. Trying to force the mind into submissiveness only leads to an inner revolt. It has to be a state that is arrived at through any number of different paths. Even the “path of mindfulness” may not suit every individual.That is the danger with the “one path fits all”. Every individual is different and unique and requires a path that suits their temperament. Many years ago the Transcendental Meditation movement swept across the world imparting an individualised

mantra meditation that was suitable for everyone. The Brahma Kumari movement uses visualisation as part of their meditation.
Other techniques such as the Sudarshan Kriya of Art of Living, Shambhavi Maha Mudra of Isha Foundation, and Kriya Yoga of Paramahamsa Yogananda and the Self Realisation Fellowship utilize the breath and postures to raise the energies to heightened states. Vipassana meditation is a Buddhist style meditation, which would most closely replicate the modern day mindfulness technique.

In the yogic tradition there are several broad paths that are described depending on the nature of the individual. Karma yogis require a much more action orientated path with an attitude of selfless service. Gnana yogis are more analytical and need to utilize the sharpness of their intellect to work out what is their real nature. Devotional people may take to the path of bhakti or surrender very naturally and aim to merge with the object of their devotion. Hata yogis use their body, and breath to arrive at the inner domains of meditation.The traditional domain of Raja yoga uses all aspects but is mainly a mental discipline.

The beauty of the yogic traditions is that it recognizes that many paths lead to the same goal. Mindfulness is just one path to mindlessness, and mindlessness is the window to the Soul!

“Only when the mind is completely empty and devoid of turbulence, can the deeper states be appreciated. ”

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