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A mindful approach to the new year

What is mindfulness? Part One of Three

Recently, the word mindfulness has been drawing a lot of attention. When I discuss this in class, the first question is “What is mindfulness?”. Although a seemingly modern day teaching, the idea of changing our lives by changing our thought patterns has been around for thousands of years and has been a message spread in a multitude of religions. A common teaching in Shintoism uses the word kagami. The literal meaning is mirror, and many Shintoist practitioners believe it represents the idea of believing in yourself, of cleansing your mind of negativity and replacing it with a firm belief in yourself.


The literal meaning is mirror, and many Shintoist practitioners believe it represents the idea of believing in yourself, of cleansing your mind of negativity and replacing it with a firm belief in yourself.

What we think we become. What an uplifting message and the ultimate source of hope that we can change our lives for the better simply by changing our thoughts. Go beyond the teachings of the earliest spiritual leaders and we find a plethora of modern teachings and evidence to support this transformative (life changing) concept. In an era of unprecedented stress, anxiety and personal suffering and divisiveness of society, this has never been needed more than it is right now.

One of the more modern educators of the mind and its power to transform was Dr. Joseph Murphy (1898-1981). His bestselling book, “The POWER of Your Subconscious Mind” still captivates audiences with its message that anything is possible if we only harness our innate abilities to improve any aspect of our lives. Using a metaphor to describe his research, he compares the mind to a garden. If seeds are planted in a garden, and nurtured properly, the growth will be robust and fruitful. Likewise, if humans plant seeds of hope, love, happiness and prosperity in their minds with habitual, positive thinking and positive affirmations, then it shall be. To quote Dr. Murphy, “busy your mind with the concepts of harmony, health, peace and good will, and wonders will happen in our life.”


Join us next week for part two of Mindfulness.

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