Seven Pillars of Mindfulness

In the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program developed by Jon Kabat-Zinn there are seven pillars of mindfulness. These attitudes and committments set the stage for effective mindfulness practice in MBSR.

 

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1. Non-judgment is about not getting caught up in likes and dislikes that keep us stuck in a rut.

2. Patience is concerned with the understanding of the fact that sometimes things must unfold in their own time.

3. Beginners Mind means that we see everything as if for the first time.

4. It is important to develop basic Trust in ourselves and our own capabilities.

5. Non-striving is about trying less and being more who we already are.

6. Acceptance means to come to terms with things as they are right here and now.

7. When we are Letting Go of things we recognize them and just don’t pursue them any further.

There are several other helpful attitudes but this is it when it comes to Kabat-Zinn’s Seven Pillars.

Eight Misconceptions about Mindfulness

There are at least eight misconceptions about mindfulness that I have read or heard about so far. They can also be seen as traps one may fall into when practicing Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) or Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) without proper guidance. If you don’t practice mindfulness read the list and be aware whether or not one of the misconceptions resonates with you. Ask yourself why this is the case and what personal values inform your thoughts. If you are practicing mindfulness ask yourself kindly and honestly whether or not a particular misconception applies to you right now. Then see if you like your conclusion or not and ask why this is the case. By asking these questions you can actually strengthen and develop mindfulness of your intentions and values.

  1. Just about me? Mindfulness meditation leads to a state of isolated self-absorption that makes you withdraw from social relationships.

  2. Just stay the same? Mindfulness does not require a change of lifestyle and you can keep your practice separate from other spheres of your life.

  3. Just do whatever? Mindfulness is not based on a set of values linked to social ethics that would prevent you from using it to harm others.

  4. Just consume? Mindfulness is a commodity that can be sold and bought just like any other product or service available for modern consumers in a market economy.

  5. Just believe? Mindfulness is a religious practice and cannot be separated from Buddhist believes and rituals.

  6. Just relax? Mindfulness is a technique that makes you feel relaxed rather than leading to personal transformation that would make you become kinder with yourself and others.

  7. Just escape? Mindfulness is a way to escape from the stressors of everyday life and enables you to cope for some time without having to deal with the real problems.

  8. Just adapt? Mindfulness makes you accept everything uncritically. It is a way to adapt to untenable social relationships, oppressive cultural or religious norms.

Take some time to reflect upon the questions you posed and answered. They can help you become more aware of your values and intentions as they relate to mindfulness meditation.

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The eight misconceptions help me to evaluate my practice in an ongoing manner. They can serve as a wake up call. When I start to agree with any one of them at the moment, I know it’s time steer into a different direction. If you are aware of other misconceptions, critiques, or concerns about mindfulness feel free to share them.