Blog Post

Mindfulness series: Cultivating Kindness – why is it important?

Following on from the previous blog post in the Mindfulness Course series, today, I’m writing about an essential part of our mindfulness training, as experienced in this Mindfulness Based Living Course (MBLC): cultivating kindness for ourselves and others.   That may come as a surprise to some – I mean, how is kindness relevant to being mindful?

To return once more to our definition of mindfulness, “Knowing what is happening, when it is happening and without preference”, the 8wk mindfulness training involves us becoming familiar with a technique and an attitude.  The “knowing what is happening, when it is happening…” part concerns the technique, the how of practice.  The “…without preference” part concerns the attitude that we bring to our practice and guides us in how we can work with what we might notice when we begin to look more closely at what is happening…That attitude includes a sort of “kindly curiosity” towards whatever arises in our present moment and a willingness to stay with that in a way that remains open and present to it.

One thing we may start to notice when we start practising mindfulness is an inner critical voice, often referred to as the inner critic.  This voice might make statements like, “I’m not good enough”, “I’ll never be good enough”, “I can’t do this” etc. and it can come to be a block to our practice of developing an accepting and allowing attitude of ourselves and our environment – a development that nurtures the cultivating of our own innate compassion, wisdom and insight – of our growth into a grounded, mature human being.

When working with the inner critic part of ourselves, we can start to notice it, acknowledge its presence and turn our attention back to our mindfulness practice, without feeding the inner critic with our energy and attention.  Our energy goes instead to cultivating an attitude of kindness and this helps nurture an attitude of accepting and allowing that helps hold us steady enough to gently focus our attention on our mindfulness support. As our mindfulness muscle becomes stronger, so we too need to feel confident in resting with whatever arises as we meditate and so, on the 8wk course, we learn a number of different kindness practices to help this development of accepting and allowing that is so helpful in being able to rest in awareness.  If you have found this interesting, why not find out more about the 8wk Mindfulness Based Living Course (MBLC).

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