West London Buddhist Centre

Mindfulness Notes: Befriending

Published on Jun 16th 2021, in Blog

Awareness in mindfulness is not the cool, detached impersonal emotionless state of an observer. When you bring awareness to bear on yourself you are aiming to have the underlying emotional attitude towards yourself which can be epitomised in the word ‘befriending’. Simply put we are aiming for our awareness and experience of ourselves to be imbued with the qualities of wanting to be well and healthy and to develop positively. They are at the heart of your wish for your wellness and personal development.

The intentionality is to explore and encourage the attitudes which support and encourage your well-being and help you connect with them. Underlying attitudes are always here but can be difficult to perceive because they are so subtle. However, taking time to meditate helps you become more sensitive to them and relate to them directly as a tangible experience rather than as an idea. It is possible to directly feel the quality of care and kindness.

The qualities you are looking for in ‘befriending’ include kindness, patience, gentleness, appreciation of your efforts, respect and a sense of generosity towards yourself. You always have something of these qualities within you and part of the art of mindfulness is to connect with them and encourage them. These qualities specifically help you and support you in your process of well-being and personal development.

If you are in touch with these qualities and attitudes within yourself it is much more likely that you will be able to express them authentically in relation to others.

However, an aspect of mindfulness is also recognising when you have any attitudes towards yourself which are in any way the opposite, such as being harsh, over-critical and uncaring. These unkind attitudes towards yourself are not fixed or unchanging, they can be softened and dissolved over time by paying attention to the positive qualities of ‘befriending’ previously mentioned.

 

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Vajradaka is one of the most experienced meditation teachers in Triratna and is continuously developing fresh approaches to maintaining and developing a vibrant meditation practice. He is known for easy to relate to ways of teaching which come across as clear, practical and relevant. He is a regular guest teacher on Dharma Night.

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