“Our mind is always seeking something and is comfortable when there are thousand things to do. But what happens when there is nothing to occupy the mind? You contemplate. And that’s what I did over 12 years living in different monasteries. Whether in a desert or on top of a mountain, the choice was mine to have these retreat periods in the initial years of my thirst for answers. I was on my own. While cooking, walking, meditating, or reading, I had to connect to my inner self.” When his voice met these words, they sparkled with a touch of calmness. Chris G Mayya, the author of “Discover your free mind” is a mindfulness coach who shed some light on this practice.
When the inner contemplation begins
Face aglow like the last rays of orange when twilight beckons the twinkling stars, he spoke of what happens when the inner contemplation takes place. “You don’t actively contemplate on life but the process of meditation brings you automatically to a stage where you sit down with certain questions, take them deeper, read some books, get some insights and as you make mediation the foundation of your contemplation, you start understanding your own life.
He moved a little from his seat, constantly bearing the semblance of smile, just enough to tell that he was enjoying the thoughts striking his mind at this moment. But maybe that’s the result of spending years in monasteries. Do we all need to, to have the same effect on others like he does? He definitely didn’t think so. “I feel discovering different aspects of spirituality at so many monasteries has definitely been worth it. If you don’t have a quest for a heavy bank balance, there are these experiences to make you richer. But you don’t necessarily need to go through the whole process like I did.”
Misconceptions about mindfulness
Maybe this could be one of the misconceptions about mindfulness like many others he spoke of when we confused mindfulness with meditation. He stayed quiet for a while as if allowing himself to stay in the question. His voice, vibrant yet relaxed spoke further, “The fundamental misconception about the practice is that mindfulness and meditation are the same. In the west especially, it happened until people realised that it is a revolution of mindfulness which is changing the world. Another misconception is that mindfulness is where you focus and bring the change with a certain amount of control, pause, slowing down like mindful drinking and eating. However, even if you are talking to someone, you can still have a kind of passive awareness. That is mindfulness.”
“The third misconception is that because it’s been integrated so much into the corporate world, and education system to change things, people think it is a self-improvement technique. But I think if someone is not motivated enough to work, and if he or she is suggested to do the program without rectifying the underlying patterns such as first addressing the problems in the company, it would be of no use. Another misconception is that if you have rituals, only then mindfulness is complete.”
Science behind mindfulness
His cardamom tea had long gone cold, though much later than he must have expected. Like a screenplay in an invisible space, his thoughts rapidly turning into words also explained the scientific reason behind how mindfulness works, “Mindfulness is the study on which the most number of scientific research has been done. Compared to every other form of psychological study, this proves to be the most effective in all the psychosomatic conditions such as depression, addiction, anxiety, etc. The result of meditation is still pseudoscientific and they are not much documented. But by far, mindfulness is the only tool people can use for themselves.”
What makes it different?
“Whatever your immediate challenge in life maybe, over the course of six weeks, it could be changed completely. Be it health, relationships,or anything else, this would able to change your fundamental beliefs which are limiting you. Underlying belief patterns are not easy to change, so you would have a better understanding of them, and you would be able to catch what’s coming next the next time you are suppressed by those beliefs and you would able to fundamentally change those.”