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When you hear the word Mindfulness, it’s important to know that in all Asian languages, the word for Mind and Heart is the same so in fact it translates badly. Though mindfulness is about ‘bare attention’, ‘discernment’, ‘clear seeing’, there is also an affectionate quality in the attention, a kindness, a gentleness that is a manifestation of our heart’s intrinsic compassion. This is not something we have to get, or even something we already have but innately something we already ‘are’.

Are you hard on yourself and judgmental?

But it may be obscured. We may be out of touch with it; just as we are out of touch with ourselves; caught up in some ‘story of me’… the one in which we tell ourselves ‘how we should be’, ‘how we should feel’, ‘not being good enough’ ‘or ‘not getting it right’, or ‘unworthy’ or … whatever it is we tell ourselves. It’s so sad to see how expert many of us have become at harming ourselves.  In fact, these stories keeps us imprisoned, self centred, self obsessed. They prevent us growing up and taking responsibility.

Mindfulness encourages self- acceptance, trust and confidence

When we practice Mindfulness and compassion, it is like we create space so we can begin to see/feel that ‘we are already perfect just the way we are’. That is not a part of us but includes all of our imperfection and inadequacies! It’s such a radical notion when it seems as if the world has been telling us what’s not right with us since we were children and we have been striving towards some image of perfection that really does not exist.

mindfulness is the same as heartfulness

Mindfulness is the same as Heartfulness

& develops attitudes of non-judgement, non-striving, patience and letting go

Mindfulness sets us free. We are encouraged to accept ourselves just as we are non- judgmentally and immediately the burden of self importance lightens. There’s room to be curious, courageous and only in this non judgmental space can we fully acknowledge what we are really feeling and see more clearly. As we learn to accept all the rejected parts of ourselves, our protective shell melts and the old habitual patterns / defences shift. We soften towards ourselves. Then, we soften toward others. We are able to see, hear, feel others differently and communicate with them openly, gently and tenderly.

Mindfulness puts us back in touch with our intrinsic goodness and beauty

Mindfulness invites the intimacy and unconditional love we yearn for, drawing our heart towards itself.  It re-connects us with the world’s and our own intrinsic goodness and beauty, revealing through our direct experiences that despite impermanence and suffering, our fundamental situation is joyful.

This blog was written by Joanne O’Malley, Mindfulness at Work.