Symran > "Right mindfulness" and "mindfulness"

Right mindfulness and mindfulness

Mindfulness meditation is defined as the cultivation of present moment awareness by training attention in a non-judgemental manner, using breath as the anchor. Mindfulness known as Samma sati is translated as “Right mindfulness” or “wholesome mindfulness” or “healthy mindfulness” and it is the seventh element of an 8-fold 2500 year old path which leads to cessation of suffering.

  • Right view
  • Right intention
  • Right thought
  • Right Speech
  • Right effort
  • Right work
  • Right mindfulness
  • Right concentration

It is clear that the originators of this 2500 year old path towards cessation of suffering felt it necessary to differentiated between “right mindfulness and wrong mindfulness”, or “healthy wholesome mindfulness” and “unhealthy unwholesome mindfulness”. The value of following the well trodden path towards cessation of suffering such as stress, depression, anxiety, fear, anger and pain has been confirmed time and time again over the past 2500 years through millions of individuals who have successfully cultivated “healthy mindfulness”.

The current “mindfulness” being touted by Western psychologists as their latest approach to mental health and wellbeing is inadequate, detrimental and potentially unwholesome to the practitioner. The main reason for this is the omission and incomplete understanding of the starting point or “right view” and its impact on the eventual outcome of their practice.

The importance of beginning with the appropriate worldview cannot be underestimated as it is fundamental and essential first step to the entire path towards cessation of mental suffering. It enables one to understand the starting point, the destination and the successive landmarks as ones practice develops. The dangers of starting without the right view is comparable to wishing to drive somewhere without knowing the destination, landmarks, or consulting the map or an experienced driver. One may be driving, but is unlikely to get to their desired place. The same is true for the practice of mindfulness in the right or wholesome manner, without the right view, or starting point, it is unlikely to get one further than the superficial impact of the practice.

The consequences of beginning without the right view, (samma dristii) gives rise to “unwholesome” intention which inevitably leads to “unwholesome” or “unhealthy” thought, “unwholesome” or “unhealthy” speech and “unwholesome” or “unhealthy” action.

From this point of “unwholesome” or “unhealthy” action, one is unable to cultivate a healthy livelihood which will inevitably lead to “unhealthy” mindfulness and the end result is the total opposite of what was desired, which was to release oneself from suffering.

"This is how from unwholesomeness comes failure, not success."

True freedom from psychological and mental illness can only be achieved through the cultivation of ethical thoughts, speech and action. Our ethics are directly linked to our mental health and wellbeing, without right view, ethics cannot be cultivated to support the cultivation of optimum mental and emotional health.

What is the right view? The right view begins with an accurate appreciation of the nature of reality, including impermanence, self, mind or ego-complex and its relationship with the nature of suffering, its causes, its origination, its cessation and the way of practice which will lead to the cessation of suffering.

It is for this precise reason that all courses, workshops and retreats run through focus on the cultivation of “right mindfulness” so the practitioner achieve their desired results, self empowerment and release from the cause of suffering.