Mindfulness. What Does this Mean?

Pre- Mindfulness. Early next month, I am signed up to join a “Mindfulness” retreat. There is no way I can pretend to know what Mindfulness is or where this experience will lead me. Is this a modern “fad” or strange cult coming to us from Eastern Philosophy? So, I looked it up…

Definition of mindfulness in Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary

1 : the quality or state of being mindful
2 : the practice of maintaining a nonjudgmental state of heightened or complete awareness of one’s thoughts, emotions, or experiences on a moment-to-moment basis; also : such a state of awareness

I love this definition, BUT, I clearly do not know what these strung together words really mean AND how can I possibly use this in my daily life???
“the practice of maintaining a nonjudgmental state of heightened or complete awareness of one’s thoughts, emotions, or experiences on a moment-to-moment basis” Sounds great… Very much a Buddhist philosophy, perhaps? The term, “Mindfulness” is used by many people who practice Yoga and Meditation. It is also bandied about by New-Age Mystics as if to join their club you better know the jargon (or we will look down on you and your lower level of consciousness…)

My problem, or at least, my challenge, is to “maintain a nonjudgemental state of heightened or “complete” awareness” (of one’s thoughts, emotions, or experiences on a moment-to-moment basis…) How do you BE non-judgmental in a world where our language and our culture can not define anything without making comparisons (which are judgements) to define or describe an activity or thing??? Even more challenging is HOW DO YOU STAY IN THE MOMENT, when our definition of “time” makes us compare the past with the present with awareness that there will be a future??? And, what does “complete” mean in this context?

Well obviously, I have a lot to learn, or to know, or to be aware of in the moment.

I have been “Judgmental” my whole life. I was raised that way. I am good at being judgmental AND you/I like to do what you/I are/am good at! This does not make being judgmental right, as in correct (which is a judgment,) but it is my habit. A difficult example: Is the bark on a tree “Brown” or is that just a judgment??? Is that a Fact or is it just an opinion based on a judgement? Boy, I am confused and in big need of a three day mindfulness retreat.

No matter how confused you can be, YOU are still perfect! (Judgement???) The Universe can not exist without: you, your soul, and the “role” you are playing! Since we are all “one,” I am you and you are me AND YOU are a Blessing!

More on my Mindfulness challenge after I “survive” my retreat. Love me and wish me luck. No matter what, every time we raise our consciousness through our life experience, we raise ALL consciousness. And, that is a good thing! (Judgement!!!)

Though I struggle with being present and non-judgmental, I like to believe that I am striving to learn how to live more fully in this state of consciousness. My struggle is not unique. My solution, if I can find one, will be unique to me and a most worthy experience of wisdom to share… Grow and be as fully present and conscious as you can be!

If you are READY and looking for a supportive community where you can share your story, your wisdom, and grow spiritually in a non-religious environment, consider Masters of the Journey.
You are a Blessing! You are a Master! Your wisdom from your life experience can have great value to other pilgrims on the path toward awakening and enlightenment.

The Masters of the Journey has events which are updated on our Facebook page which is found at: www.facebook.com/mastersofthejourney Please comment on this blog and share, if appropriate. More of our blogs are based on spiritual consciousness and can be found at www.dstress.com/blog

Achieving Nirvana

Do you know your purpose in life? Are you living your life with the intention of getting to Heaven or reaching the highest form of consciousness labeled “Nirvana” in the Buddhist tradition? The Buddhists believe that achieving enlightenment is the goal of living and they believe that we live and are reborn to learn the lessons that will lead to enlightenment. The concept of rebirth and reincarnation is known as “Samsara.”

In researching this concept I came across the following definition in Wikipedia:
“Samsara is uncontrollably recurring rebirth, filled with suffering and problems (according to Kalacakra tantra as explained by Dr. A. Berzin). In this sense, Samsara may be translated as ‘Wheel of Suffering.’ The Buddha taught that there are six realms that one can go to through this cycle of Samsara, though Buddhists differ as to whether the realms are actual places or figurative states of mind. Many believe that when one goes through the process of rebirth that they are the exact same person when they are reborn, but this however is not true according to the teachings of Buddha. Beings bear many similarities with their former selves but they are not the same person: this is why many Buddhists use the term rebirth instead of reincarnation. The term reincarnation implies that there is a transfer of one’s soul to the new life, but Buddhists believe this is not the case in Samsara, rebirth is generally considered to be a stream of evolving consciousness. A good example to better understand the transfer of consciousness is like a billiard ball hitting another billiard ball. While nothing physical transfers, the speed and direction of the second ball relate directly to the first. This explains how the previous life has a direct impact on the next life”

So, where are you in your evolution of higher consciousness? Are you living your life in preparation for achieving Nirvana? If this is your life’s purpose, how are you going about this?

Not everyone chooses to follow Buddhism or to meditate daily. Can we all connect with a deeper spirit of consciousness on whatever path we choose? We can learn to trust our intuition and do “right” by others with the highest level of tolerance and without the fear death. We can practice acceptance and offer unconditional love, with no strings attached, to other people struggling to learn the lessons of life. We can choose to volunteer and look for the good in others rather than, through fear and distrust, looking for the things that may divide us. How prepared are you to accept the ultimate transition that we must all face of death (and then face the possible return to learn more lessons in a future life?)

My sister asked me to read a book, The Instruction by Ainsley Macleod. He offers an interesting perspective on living your purpose and developing higher consciousness. It is a basic guide with information and exercises that can assist in the process of spiritual development without subscribing to religious dogma.

No matter how you choose to find and embody your life’s purpose, I support your efforts. Along the way, I encourage you to reach out and assist others in their quest for awakening as we may all reach the end point together. My wish for you is that you may bask in the light of unconditional love and acceptance. Here’s to knowing you in Nirvana!

My colleague and I are founding a new community of support for all who seek higher consciousness through non-denominational spiritual development. We have chosen the name “Masters of the Journey” because we are all Masters with insights to share and experiences that can be valuable learning tools for others on this Journey. This is a Transformational Community welcoming the participation of open-minded members who wish to share wisdom and unconditional love. Please share this blog and join us if you wish the support of this community on YOUR Journey.

Accepting Death and Dying As a Buddhist

Accepting Death and Dying As a Buddhist (from thoughts regarding my wife & her passing)

In the course of blogging I want to serve people who are struggling with life’s lessons regarding aging and the final transition of dying with peace and dignity. Blessings to all of us who are on the path…


While confronting the challenges of mortality, I find myself engaged in emotional swings and wonder how an accomplished Buddhist might respond to the death of family member…


Does a practicing and accomplished Buddhist gracefully accept the death of close friend or family member? Is there a way to unemotionally accept the passing of a friend with the deeply held belief that the transition is nothing more significant than the cycle of day turning to night? Can a Buddhist clearly resolve that there is only joy in the spiritual evolving of a soul as they pass through physical death into the next incarnation?


Beyond the philosophical questions, can I ever truly feel the beauty that death will bring to my loving, graceful wife and not feel the despair in my loss of my close friend/wife? Should I avoid my pain by finding deep acceptance of her destiny in the tradition of a well practiced Buddhist? Will I understand the meaning of emotionally letting go of my fear, sadness, and the void of my loss?


There are times when I feel that I accept and understand the meaning and value of the transition of death, and times when I fight my personal despair. What is the perfect balance of these feelings???… And, will I be able to achieve the ideal balance to learn my lessons of this life?


Perfection and joy in the sadness of loss…


Feeling the release of my loved one from the pain, sorrows and limitations of this life…


Embrace the lightness, unconditional love, consciousness, and feeling of complete connectedness of after-life…


I was young and I was shocked when as a young man of my mid-twenties I received a letter from a person who knew my friend Judy who died while tubing in the snow on Mt. Shasta. The letter described in rational coolness the beauty of her passing into the next plain of consciousness to do her “work.” At the time, my loss and fear made me feel a lack of insight into the writer’s consciousness and separation from the Buddhist principle that was being shared with me… I was uncomfortable and yet attracted to this view of death and dying. Yet, sometimes I feel that I understand and emotionally connect with this insight. It is a freeing of my soul and spirit to spend moments in this consciousness…


How do I maintain this feeling longer? Should I recommend this state of consciousness to other people so they can be free to live without the limitations of fear, sadness, loss, anxiety, and anger regarding the process of death and dying?


Is my sadness a conditioned response to the accepted lack of acceptance of death and dying by my society? Has spiritual evolution and freedom of the soul been discourage by a fear based society that ignores death only to falsely celebrate youth and winning in life? Can I release my own need for drama to allow death a more normal and less emotional spot in my life?


My learning continues as I confront the thoughts and feelings that are so easily avoided by many members of our culture. As you can see, I take religion out of my struggles for consciousness and yet desire to embrace a philosophy born out Eastern beliefs that I do not know much about but somehow find comfort in the feelings of my exposure to this system. I know that far greater minds have contorted while examining these challenges so I accept that I may not have a final answer. There is something special in the struggle and the process engages me.


Please celebrate my struggle and enter into this dance yourself. Any input and feedback is appreciated.




Added perspective from my friend Patricia:


As I read your beautiful writing, something comes to mind for me that I learned from Buddhist Psychotherapist, John Welwood.


“According to Welwood, for the Western mind, this isn’t an either or in this situation, but rather a both/and. It is possible to feel both the beauty of a loved one’s passing, knowing that the absolute truth of the matter is that she is free from suffering and to also feel the relative suffering of your own personal loss. To do anything other than that is to by-pass your own human condition in some essential way and not listen to the wisdom that is inherent in the body. He calls this “spiritual bypassing.” Does this mean that we are conditioned to feel emotions in a certain way that our Eastern counterparts don’t? I don’t know….


I do know that I have moments when I understand and recognize the non-attachment Buddhism teaches, and many more moments when I do not. Mostly what I know is that when I try to force myself to think and/or feel a certain way when I don’t already, I wind up doing a small violence to myself by not acknowledging exactly where I am in any given moment, and then allowing something fresh to appear the next moment.”


Thank you, Patricia.