What is the purpose of training in mindfulness meditation?
Since mindfulness helps to touch the moment directly in the purest way possible, it is the most real and honest way to live. Ultimately, living mindfully leads to liberation from all suffering. Suffering is created when the ego clings to or repels against what is presently happening. Over time this manifests into hardened states in the body/mind that reduce the natural flow of life in its purest form. Mindfulness works to dissolve away these mistakenly solidified realities and purify the mind from emotional bondage. It helps to unwind limiting beliefs and soften the tensions that build up to protect the raw pulsing of the heart. Practicing mindfulness is a way of de-layering the cocoon as it armors against the vulnerability of basic aliveness. “We have built walls all around ourselves and are trapped in the prison of our own likes and dislikes. We suffer.” (Gunaratana, 2015, p. 5)
Practicing mindfulness meditation helps to develop greater insight and awareness that can then be applied towards navigating the ups and downs of life with more ease and grace. Rather than being caught up with the ego’s agenda of grasping at or aversion to what is happening, one applies a radical acceptance of the way things truly are by cultivating clarity and kindness towards whatever occurs in the current conscious state. This helps steer away from being at the whim of the discomfort of emotional states or trying to control what we cannot.
Furthermore, this increased self-awareness and acceptance leads to a greater ability to respond with flexibility and choice, rather than reacting unconsciously through stuck ways that perpetuate suffering. Practicing mindfulness meditation assists one in apprehending and embracing the essence of reality as impermanent, therefore avoiding the trap of being locked into attachment. Rather than wishing it was another way, you can courageously turn toward what’s actually there. Only from this place of inner acceptance can you make the choice to make changes. Mindfulness fosters the ability to be relaxed and poised at the same time, which over time will lead to less struggle in life.