The Practice of “Mindfulness” and the Practice of “SATI”
YANG and YIN
What is mindfulness?
Rhys Davids in 1910 coined the word “mindfulness” from the original seminal text in the Buddhist teachings, the satipaṭṭhāna sutta.
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 for the practice of “Sati”.
The use of Buddhist practices Sati or coined ‘mindfulness’ 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 Davis and introduced “mindfulness 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 mind using itself to understand itself. Mindfulness is Doing. Mindfulness is Yang energy. Mindfulness is active.
Moreover, “mindfulness” implies the mind is full and actively aware. 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.
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) and 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 “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 involve 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 realize who I am, what I am, and what the world is in relation to “I”.
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 breathing is one way to concentrate on the present moment SATI. See my blog: Conscious Breathing
Both Mindfulness and Sati involve allowing your thoughts and feelings to pass without either clinging to them or pushing them away.
If you just allow thoughts and emotions take their natural course, they naturally dissolve. While practicing mindfulness, 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. While practicing Sati we are present to the moment and anchor to SOURCE (prana, Chi, Qi) through the breath.
If you have any questions, concerns, comments, please reach out to me. I am here for you for consultation. I like to FLOW. Come FLOW with me. On my website Contact page, you will find a Code for FREE 15-minute consultation. Reach out. Send me an email to set up your Free 15-minute consultation. I would love to hear from you. I would love to FLOW with you.
With Love and Light,
Shawna M. Freshwater, Ph.D.
Licensed Clinical Psychologist, NeuroPsychologist, and Holistic Healer.