Rhys Davids translated “Sati” from the Buddhist context “present-moment awareness” to “mindfulness”. I do not find any literature why Rhys Davis chose “mindfulness”. As “mindfulness” is not an accurate translation of “Sati”.
The use of Buddhist practices Sati or coined “mindfulness therapy” practices in the context of Western clinical psychotherapy emerged in early 1990s. It was initially associated Jon Kabat-Zinn, PhD who borrowed the word “mindfulness” from Rhys Davids and introduced “mindfulness therapy” in his work at the Stress Reduction Clinic and Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society at the University of Massachusetts.
Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn’s “mindfulness- based stress reduction’ (MBSR) in turn fostered into the development of ‘mindfulness- based cognitive therapy’ (MBCT).
“Mindfulness” is a dual state of consciousness. There is the Observer and the observed. The Seer and the seen. The Watcher watching. The Projector and projection. The mind using itself to understand itself. Mindfulness is Doing. Mindfulness is Yang energy. Mindfulness is active.
Moreover, “mindfulness” implies the mind is full. This is not what we are practicing when we are “present to the moment” and simply “Being present to What is”. “Sati” is YIN energy. Sati is restful. Sati is healing. Sati is presence. Sati is nourishing to the mind + body + soul.
When we are practicing “Sati”, it is non-dual—It is simply “present moment awareness”. There is acceptance (YIN) to what ever presents in the internal environment (interoception) mind (thoughts), body (e.g. emotions/feelings), and outward environment (exteroception), and a letting go, Surrender, and just a Flow of BEING present to ‘What Is’ at this moment.
You don’t have to be a Buddhist to practice Mindfulness, but if you are a Buddhist you practice Mindfulness.
You don’t have to be a Buddhist to practice Sati, but if you are a Buddhist you practice Sati
The Four Foundations of “Mindfulness” or “SATI”
• Present moment awareness of your experiences internally (interoception), externally (exteroception), and both.
• Acceptance to the nature of impermanence: the arising, the passing away, and both the arising and passing away in regard to your experience.
• Awareness of what is unfolding moment to moment—without mental commentary— and to remain present and spacious of What IS…the Isness of this moment.
• Calm abiding without clinging to anything that enters your realm of experience.
Both Mindfulness and Sati are awareness to the feelings and sensations of these experiences. We meet ourselves for the first time completely and fully. We make friends with ourselves. We make friends with our emotions. We realize who I am, what I am, and what the world is in relation to “I”. We realize lovingly and gently that we are the creator of our emotions from our thought patterns.
In our Western culture, we are programed by our society to always be DOING (YANG), and we know little to nothing about BEING (YIN).
For example, awareness of the inhale and exhale of your breath is one way to concentrate on the present moment SATI. Check out my articles: Conscious Breathing, and How the brain changes and improves with Mindfulness and Meditation, and Transforming difficult emotions, and Understanding Emotions , and Meditation guidelines
Both Mindfulness and Sati involve allowing your thoughts and feelings to pass without either clinging to them, identifying with them, or avoiding them.
If you just allow thoughts and emotions take their natural course, they naturally dissolve. While practicing “mindfulness” practicing “Sati”, you may become distracted by your thoughts and that is okay. The process is about witnessing your thoughts/feelings and then re-directing your awareness to breath. While practicing Sati we are present to the moment and anchor to the breath.
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With Peace, Love and Light,
Shawna M. Freshwater, Ph.D.
Licensed Clinical Psychologist, NeuroPsychologist, and Holistic Healer.