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  • Stuart Nevill

The therapeutic value of mindfulness (Part 2)...

Updated: May 20, 2020

Mindfulness can support our therapeutic development by increasing our sensitivity to, and awareness of, the experiences that we will learn most from, namely our difficulties.

Our psychology is transformed when we make what we find difficult the focus of our mindfulness practice. If we approach what we find difficult as a teacher, we can bring mindful awareness to the ways in which our minds struggle against the reality of the way things are. We will see in sharper focus, the difference between the direct experience of an unpleasant feeling in the present moment, and the way the mind squeezes and reduces that direct experience (through thought), into a personalised experience which we try to manage, normally unsuccessfully and with painful consequences.

Being mindful of what we find difficult is a reversal of the belief we are all hold to one degree or another: that happiness lies in escaping from, reversing, or avoiding what we find difficult. This is a wise strategy when we’re learning not to put our hand into the flame a second time, but it doesn’t work in much of our emotional lives. In fact, the opposite is often true, for therapeutic development we need to go towards what we find difficult.

Being mindful of how we feel can be healing. We drop from our thinking minds into our underlying felt experience and when we accept how we feel, when we stop trying to change the world around us, then we can change.

When we accept the way things are, not even unpleasant feelings are as difficult.

In mindfulness, we can discover freedom from the suffering created by our fears and desires.

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