Mindfulness Skills™ have emerged as an important focus of several empirically supported treatments. Dialectical Behavior Therapy for borderline personality disorder, mindfulness-based cognitive behavior therapy for depression, and mindfulness-based stress reduction are based in mindfulness. The roots of mindfulness practice are in the contemplative practices common to both eastern and western spiritual disciplines and to the emerging scientific knowledge about the benefits of “allowing” experiences rather than suppressing or avoiding them.
Mindfulness in its totality has to do with the quality of awareness that a person brings to everyday living; learning to control your mind, rather than letting your mind control you. Mindfulness as a practice directs your attention to only one thing, and that one thing is the moment you are living in. When you recognize the moment, what it looks like, feels like, tastes like, sounds like – you are being mindful. Further, mindfulness is the process of observing, describing, and participating in reality in a non-judgmental manner, in the moment and with effectiveness. At the same time, mindfulness is the window to acceptance, freedom, and wisdom.
The mindfulness bell serves as a cue for the practice. We advise you to use the bell for mindfulness only, avoiding use of it for bringing your team back to order. At retreat centers, the bell is invited to sound, not rung. Inviting the bell to sound, mindfully, marks the beginning and end of the formal exercise. These guidelines are an example of ones used at mindfulness retreats: Invite the bell to sound three times to start the practice, and three times to end it. As the bell sounds three times, slowly, mindfully, it gives your mind a few moments to settle down and ready itself for the practice. Likewise, inviting the bell at the end of the practice reminds you to bring yourself back to the present moment, as you move from mindfulness practice to team discussion. NOTE: Remember to orient new team members to the bell and it's purpose.
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