Mindfulness is the ability to actively focus one’s attention on the present moment, accepting it without any form of judgment. Through mindfulness we have the power to respond to our environment.
Let’s wake up in the morning, very early and mindfully. Some might wake up to the sounds of a chirping bird, the alarm, or any other sound, by experience or habit. Learn to associate your mind with good thoughts and affirmations. In cases where individuals feel bored, they should learn not to pay attention to any sounds or thoughts but to remain calm for a few minutes on their bed or mat. Human lives are constantly troubled with worries about the past and future. By practicing mindfulness, it is believed that mindfulness can lead to greater well-being and mental clarity. There are countless benefits to practicing mindfulness.
To begin, take a few deep breaths slowly and serenely. Slow it down after a few breaths to take in sufficient oxygen, as one does not receive enough oxygen during sleep at night. It is called Amurthaya, or elixir. Do not think about your breath; be aware of it with a calm mind and see what is happening. Just be aware of the breath touching the nasal point and be mindful of the breath, breath by breath.
Meanwhile, feel the sensation moment by moment. Make sure the body is comfortable. If an individual feels tension in their body, that could result from their dreams last night. Just breathe into that area and exhale slowly and feel how comfortable you are. Sometimes you’ve been daydreaming, fighting, arguing, quarreling with someone, crying about losing a beloved one or something valuable, and you could have been full of agitation or frustration. On the other hand, making motor horns or foghorns on the road is terrible as it affects children in nearby schools, patients in hospitals, and elderly people in residences. First of all, you might be the first victim there. Because when you make one sound, since you have two ears, the words you speak and the thoughts you think, reflect twice as strong. This could be related to the motor vehicle traffic laws.
According to Sunday Times on March 24, 2019, “Police crackdown on deafening musical horns,” it says: “Police have begun an islandwide operation to remove loud musical horns, with 900 vehicles being pulled over just in the Colombo Fort-Pettah area.” The owners of vehicles have agreed to this decision. According to the same newspaper, “Vehicle owners who agreed to remove the offending horns and hand them over to the police were given a warning and released.” At the same time, in the same newspaper column, at the bottom of the page, a man was seen fixing one musical horn in Panchikawatta. This is the pattern in Sri Lanka and across the world. Because this boy doesn’t know the consequences of using those loud sounds. No one has taught them, even in schools.
According to this newspaper, this also is noise pollution, and its consequences are stated as physical effects:
1. High-decibel sounds increase tension.
2. This discharges two hormones, adrenaline and cortisol.
3. Adrenaline increases the heart rate and blood pressure, which causes extra beats to occur, and the combination of these factors creates a fat deposit.
4. The stress hormone cortisol which again could create a deposit of cholesterol.
5. Therefore, noise pollution will prob-ably cause atherosclerosis – the building up of plaque in the arteries, in the long run. Tension sends the arteries into spasm, and if the heart arteries spasm, less blood will reach that area, which could cause a heart attack and sudden death. Psychological effects could be extreme tension, stress, aggression, and depression. Therefore, never horn again on the roadway. Not only that, it is a nuisance and dangerous to all.
Anyway, let us go to the relevant article again. So, there are chances for all those thoughts to return to you during your sleep at night, causing terrible dreams. As a result, it produces cortisol (a harmful chemical) and causes stress and anxiety (in meditation, the toxic chemicals could be reduced by mindfulness). On this occasion, if you feel any pain or tension in your body, take a deep breath and breathe out several times. Remember well, every thought in the morning creates your day, today, and your future. Release from your consciousness: all fear, anxiety, anger, resentment, and guilt. Dissolve all sorrow and jealousy. Just let it go. You can say, “Let it go,” but really ‘let it be forgotten.” Give it up. Thoughts arise and disappear. Just be aware of it. That’s the method of continuing meditation (which is the way of giving up). Feel how comfortable your body is and how calm your mind is now. Meanwhile, prominent mindfulness meditation teacher Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn, describing meditation and mindfulness at a university in Oslo, Norway, reveals, “Mindfulness is paying attention with a purpose, in the present moment, nonjudgmentally… It is not breathing but being aware of the breath.”
“Mindfulness is doing nothing; it is a way of being and awareness of interconnectedness.” With his experience in meditation, he has made a clear picture of meditation and mindfulness scientifically. It is a brain teaser for fake Buddhists, who are arguing today whether the Buddha has come to Sri Lanka, whether Maha Mahinda Thero came here and preached Dhamma, or whether the Buddha was born in Sri Lanka. For those fake Buddhists, it is said in ‘Wakkhali¯ su¯tra’, “Yo¯ Dhamman passati, So¯ man passati”—it means, ‘He who sees (understands) the Dhamma, he sees me. In other words, ‘If you sow paddy, you will reap paddy’. Unfortunately, the pattern in Sri Lanka is to criticize anyone or anything, anytime, without doing anything for himself or others. So, if you do any good thing, that is a good ‘Karma’; if you do a bad thing, that is a bad ‘Karma’. Therefore, meditation is also good karma, as it improves your well-being.
There is never a moment of being calm and serene because so many things continuously flow into the mind (arising in mind), according to the mindset, consciously or unconsciously. It cannot be stopped as it rises and disappears according to one’s brain functions. The best way is to pay attention and be aware of the breath without judgment about the thoughts. Don’t manipulate, but just be mindful of your breath. That is the objective of meditation. To do this, pay attention, on purpose, in the present moment, nonjudgmentally. According to the journal ‘Medical Xpress’ on Meditation, it states that in a nutshell, ”Meditation’s ability is to help people stay focused at the moment of existence with increased happiness levels,” said Judson A. Brewer, assistant professor of psychiatry and lead author of a study published in November 2021 in the National Academy of Sciences. Understanding how meditation works will aid investigation into a host of diseases. Meditation has been shown to help in variety of health problems, such as helping people quit smoking, cope with cancer, and even prevent psoriasis, Brewer said.”
Ven Diyapattugama Revatha Thero (B.A., M.A., M.Phil.)
Expert Psychological Counselor and Meditation Instructor Siriwardhanarama Buddha Dhamma College
Mano¯daya Meditation Center Mano¯daya Asapuwa (Facebook) Siriwardhanaramaya, Temple Lane, Kollupitiya