(From Yoga and Mindfulness Workshop 5th May 2018)
I had recently had a chance to talk to a consultant psychiatrist from North Devon Hospital. Mindfulness is now in the mainstream NHS mental health strategy. It is recommended by NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) as a way to prevent depression in people who suffered three or more bouts of depression. ( NHS link is here.)
He said once he was in a discussion with a friend from Sri Lanka. When he mentioned about the recent NHS’s take on mindfulness, his friend laughed. She said ‘But it’s something we knew for 2000 years.’
We have no problem controlling our limbs. We can touch our nose or not to touch our nose as we choose. So how come it’s so difficult to control our thoughts? I mean, can you really not to think about a crocodile if I tell you not to?
Indian mystic Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev says that all the human sufferings, anxiety, stress, worry and depression, come from our memory and imagination. Because of our memory we suffer things which happened 10 years ago. Because of our imagination we pre-suffer things which may or may not happen in a month. It’s not that memory and imagination are bad, but we are just so bad at handling them. We are really not very good at controlling our mind.
In order to reduce suffering, in order to not to live life as a knee jerk reaction to whatever we happen to think, we need to practise. We need to learn to focus on the present moment, and not to let our mind wander and go after every fleeting event happening around us.
Mindfulness is the same as muscles. We need to practise.