The meaning of mindfulness
Life is, by its nature, challenging. Just ask your average female elephant shrew who gives birth four to five times a year and at any given moment is both pregnant and lactating. Male elephant shrews also understand the difficult nature of existence as they are so rabidly territorial that should you, as a wandering elephant shrew, happen to set foot on anotherâ€™s territory you will find yourself greeted by screams, sparring, snapping, and high kicking. Yes, an elephant shrew appreciates that life is suffering, and although our challenges are different, humans understand that fact too. That is why we are encouraged to be â€œmindfulâ€ as a way to transcend the challenges of life. While this advice is ancient and common to many religions, a new Harvard Medical School report has detailed exactly the benefits of a mindful existence.
To arrive at their conclusions the researchers looked at many different pieces of research measuring the effects of mindfulness meditation.
As a result the authors of the report identified that mindfulness meditation improves immune function, reduces blood pressure, and enhances cognitive functioning. It does this, they conclude, as the result of four key elements.
Those elements are attention regulation, body awareness, emotion regulation, and sense of self. Combined together these elements help cope with the mental and physical rigours that result from the challenging nature of life in a non-judgemental way.
Although these elements are separate they all feed into each other. An improved ability to regulate your attention enhances your awareness of your body which in turn helps you to be aware of the emotions that you are experiencing. In total that means less stress, more engagement and more peace with the nature of existence.
The moral of all that is; to raise the consciousness of the planet and ease the shared suffering, teach an elephant shrew mindfulness meditation today.