Mindfulness deals with anxiety effectively because it deals with thoughts. Though mindfulness can cause anxiety to stop it doesn’t always do so. The power of mindfulness doesn’t lie in its capacity to make bad sensations, thoughts or whatever stop. The power of it lies in the fact that it takes you beyond them, it gives you a lofty perspective from which you can watch the things that bother you. You can even watch the “Botheredness”.
When you have such a perspective things cease to be so dramatic, so in your face. As time goes on in the practice everything becomes stuff that is happening.
This is probably the reason why it is one of the main practices in Buddhism. Buddhism is all about suffering; or to be more exact it is all about the cessation of suffering. This is what nirvana is. Nirvana comes from the pali word that means “to extinguish” and the thing that is extinguished is the cause of suffering.
What is the cause of suffering? Desire.
Life is a long sequence of events, of happenings. People suffer when something they want to happen doesn’t happen and when something happens that they do not want to happen. You can quibble as much as you want but all suffering falls into one of those two categories. So how do we deal with suffering? What is the best way to deal with it? As I see it there are two ways of dealing with suffering.
One way is to control events, to make happen what we want to happen all the time. There are two problems with this approach. 1. It is not always possible for us to control events. 2. Even if we could make happen what we wanted to happen all the time we would get bored because it would be like cheating in a game. Have you ever cheated at a computer game and noticed how rapidly it lost interest?
The second way is to not want stuff. Some people may say “But that would be boring”. Well if you find not wanting stuff boring then you are wanting stuff. You are wanting stimulation so you don’t understand not wanting stuff (nirvana).
To be continued…