‘Mindfulness” proves to be a buzz word with staying power.
As a practice, mindfulness has experienced a surge in popularity. However, this belies its ancient roots: Buddha began teaching mindfulness in India about 2,600 years ago.
Mindfulness is no fad, says author Mark Coleman; it’s a way of life. He defines it as “clear awareness.”
“(It is) knowing what’s happening as it’s happening — present-moment attention,” he explains.
Coleman illustrates the benefits of mindfulness in his newly released book, “From Suffering to Peace: The True Promise of Mindfulness.”
“Mindfulness refers to the depth of awareness we bring to our whole life, and in so doing, we transform ourselves and the way we live in the world,” he writes. “Mindfulness supports us to live an intentional, meaningful life with presence, insight and compassion. It is an extraordinary voyage.
“From Suffering to Peace” merges neuroscientific research with ancient teachings and practices.
Coleman also drew on insights gleaned from more than 20 years of teaching mindfulness in settings as varied as universities, Buddhist temples, prisons, locker rooms and hospitals.
The book is endorsed by professionals from dozens of backgrounds. This includes Troy Aikman, Fox Sports broadcaster and Football Hall of Fame quarterback: “‘From Suffering to Peace’ is an excellent guide to the depth and breadth of these ancient practices, giving a clear path to bring these principles into every facet of your life. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in deepening their understanding of mindfulness.”
The first three parts of the book take the reader inward, covering mind, body and heart. Coleman reflects on topics like triggering emotions; “chasing pleasure and fleeing pain”; the “modern epidemic” of self judgment; and “letting go through the process of letting be.”
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He also delves into higher level aspects of mindfulness.
“Embodied awareness is attention that is grounded and centered in the body,” Coleman explains. “This is most easily understood by watching a professional modern dancer move. They are fully in their physical experience.”
Meanwhile, another chapter focuses on “Meeting Aging with Kind Awareness.”
“There is much pain in life, including the challenges of aging, feeling our energy slow down, the joints get achy, losing friends and loved ones,” Coleman says. “Mindfulness helps us meet all of that and any other painful circumstances with acceptance, balance and care.”
Each chapter’s reflection is connected to a practice, such as “walking meditation.”
The book’s final part shifts the reader’s focus outward to mindfulness practices related to the world.
“Mindfulness wakes us up to the human predicament that life is challenging, complex and not easy,” says Coleman. “The more we are present to our own struggles, with care and understanding, the more empathy we can feel for others when they go through similar hardships of their own. Mindfulness also helps us see that kindness brings happiness and peace to the heart.”
Coleman also authored “Awake in the Wild” and “Make Peace with Your Mind.” He has a master’s degree in psychology and is founder of The Mindfulness Institute. He has taught mindfulness practices and concepts on five continents, serving as a consultant, counselor, meditation teacher and wilderness guide.
For more information on “From Suffering to Peace,” Coleman and his work, go to MarkColeman.org.