Is this the change mindfulness practice creates in you?

I came across this very interesting description of a mind shift from self as content to self as context;

Through reperceiving brought about by the cultivation of mindfulness, the stories (e.g., about who we are, what we like or dislike, our opinions about others, etc.) that were previously identified with so strongly become simply “stories.” In this way, there is a profound shift in one’s relationship to thoughts and emotions, the result being greater clarity, perspective, objectivity, and ultimately equanimity.

This process is similar to Hayes, Strosahl, and Wilson’s (1999) concept of cognitive defusion, in which the emphasis is on changing one’s relationship to thought rather than attempting to alter the content of thought itself. As Hayes, Strosahl, and Wilson note, as one strengthens the capacity for mindful observing or witnessing of mental activity, there is often a corresponding shift in the self-sense. The “self” starts to be seen through or deconstructed—i.e., it is realized to be a psychological construction, an ever-changing system of concepts, images, sensations and beliefs. These aggregates, or constructs, that were once thought to comprise the stable self, are eventually seen to be impermanent and fleeting. Through reperceiving, not only do we learn to stand back from and observe our inner commentary about life and the experiences encountered, we also begin to stand back from (witness) our “story” about who and what we ultimately are. Through this change in perspective, identity begins to shift from the contents of awareness to awareness itself. Hayes et al. (1999) describe this as the shift from “self as content” (that which can be witnessed or observed as an object in consciousness) to “self as context” (that which is observing or witnessing—i.e., consciousness itself). It is this figure/ground shift that may, in part, be responsible for the transformations facilitated through mindfulness practice.

—Shauna L. Shapiro, Linda E. Carlson, John A. Astin, & Benedict Freedman. (2006). “Mechanisms of Mindfulness.” In Journal of Clinical Psychology, 62(3), p. 379.


Author: Roger - Dr Roger Prentice

Now I write, teach & coach mainly about interfaith as inter-spirituality - and how we can grow closer to our True Self. . As anyone who knows anything about IPF will realize my energy is curtailed - so I am concentrating primarily on 'inter-spirituality'. . In the past I would have said that: . 1) I run courses and give talks at conferences and in universities and colleges in the UK, China, USA, Canada, Scandinavia etc. . 2) I provide materials, outlines and lessons for Schools. . 3) My range of interests include personal development, learning and teaching, photography and film, the arts generally, spirituality and educational practice and theory. . 4) At the same time I continue developing the human-centred studies SunWALK PDS (People Development System) - a whole-person, high-achievement model for individuals, and for use in, NGOs, schools and other organizations. . 5) The key question that continues to animate me and my work remains, "What is it to be fully and positively human?" . Contact me via onesummit AT gmail DOT com (replace At with@ etc.). . All good wishes Roger (Dr Roger Prentice) . For those interested; My first degree is in English and Education. My masters is in Adult and Community Education. My doctorate presented a new holistic meta-model of education called SunWALK.

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