Today we had an in depth discussion with Anna about how mindfulness practice works as a long term way of actually producing positive change in the way your brain processes things. This was really helpful as it allowed us to see the actual beneficial application of mindfulness, and how this can carry through to a real and positive change in the habit patterns of the mind. It also allowed me personally to reflect on how these mindfulness session have actually been benefiting me and my approach to this project, and also how I might take the practice further to strengthen my own mental habits.
We have explored how mindfulness allows for judgements to be removed, opening up our minds to experiencing what is happening presently, rather than allowing our preconceptions and subconscious database of stored experience to influence this acceptance of the present. Through the mindfulness sessions in this field project and also linking with my previous field project ‘Art and the Conscious mind’, which also included a session of mindfulness and a consideration of the relationship between the conscious and unconscious mind, I have really begun to appreciate how much power the subconscious mind can have over the way we experience things. Mindfulness has been a really fascinating exploration into how we can counteract this, and overthrow the amount of power the subconscious mind has over the way we behave, simply by becoming aware of the breath – and allowing ourselves to close down the connection between past experience and present.
Sustainability – Not allowing preconceptions to govern behaviour
The positive impact that this practise can have on the way we treat others is also a very moving factor, and particularly important in this investigation into how we can sustain our world and one another. The ability to suspend judgements is no doubt something that can discourage our prejudices towards one another. So much of the hate in the world is formed from people acting on the misconceptions they have about others, if more people were able to recognise their own unfair judgements, and had the ability to suspend them, then it would have a really positive impact on the way that we communicate and work together as a global community.
Mindfulness also offers us the opportunity to take a much more active role in the way that our brain works, allowing us to take more control over our emotions – and not allow them to take control over the way we deal with a situation. The constant changing of the brain (neuroplasticity) means that connections and networks of associations are continuously being created and grown. This can however have quite a negative impact on the way we think, and this is something that I have also experienced personally – and have tackled in the past through the practice of mindfulness and cognitive behaviour therapy (which I can recognise as similar to mindfulness in many ways, as this also acts as a way of breaking negative associations and encourages acceptance of present). Introducing mindfulness into the way you approach life is something that I can recognise as being really beneficial in the way that we sustain ourselves. In the example of anxiety, being able to take a more active role in the way we react to situations that would otherwise be anxiety inducing because of the negative associations attached, can help to sustain our health and wellbeing as we are not held captive by the overwhelming emotions that are out of our control. Our ability to handle and control our own emotions successfully will enable us to reach the goals that we need to reach with a lot more ease and clarity, and also allow us to support and help others a lot more successfully.