According to Jon Kabat-Zinn, seven attitudinal factors constitute the pillars of mindfulness. Each one is required to achieve the mindful state that is optimal for guiding someone else through rough terrain while staying strong and energized oneself.
Judgments tend to dominate our minds and are unhelpful in dealing with the issues and problems of someone else in a positive and unbiased way. “Being with” a person, especially through bad times, takes gentleness, kindness, and encouragement that is cultivated by a non-judgmental attitude.
“To be patient is simply to be completely in each moment, accepting it in its fullness.” Mindfulness means to constantly bring the mind back to the present moment, back to the breath and physical sensations.When the mind is filled with the weight of worries, this takes tremendous patience and perseverance.
C. Beginner’s mind
“Too often we let our thinking and our beliefs about what we ‘know’ prevent us from seeing things as they really are.” We have a beginner’s mind when we are curious and open to life’s experience in the present. The past is in the past, and the future is not here yet. Let’s make the most of today by being here…fully!
Learning to trust one’s own experience, feelings, and intuition by leaving preconceived judgments and expectations behind is key to helping another. Distrust in oneself and others is a burden that prevents us from opening up and accepting.
“Almost everything we do, we do for a purpose, to get something or somewhere. But in meditation, this attitude can be a real obstacle.” Everything good and truly worthwhile develops at its own pace. By grasping onto things, including feelings, we inevitably increase our dissatisfaction and stress. Straining or forcing a result almost certainly causes resistance and make a setback more likely in a supportive relationship.
“You have to accept yourself as you are before you can really change.” The same applies to other people in your life. Each person’s experience must be attended to with clarity and without judgment as it always contains a grain of truth and realness. Validating oneself and one’s experiences, as well as those of others, is incredibly freeing and empowering.
G. Letting go
“Cultivating the attitude of letting go, or non-attachment, is fundamental to the practice of mindfulness.” As explained previously, thoughts are just thoughts, and feelings are just feelings. Nothing more. They do not define us or speak the truth about someone else. We should accept their presence and not hold on to them or try to repel them. Letting go is a reminder to us not to grasp or cling to what we want and just let things be as they are.
Therefore, one should learn and regularly practice to be aware and accepting of all experiences in the present moment. Do not label thoughts and feelings, but just allow them to come and go freely, without pressure or the need for avoidance. The next two exercises are designed to help relax your mind and body by focusing on the present moment.