The Two Wings of Awareness: Mindfulness & Heartfulness
"The two parts of genuine acceptance —seeing clearly and holding our experience with compassion—are as interdependent as the two wings of a great bird. Together, they enable us to fly and be free." - Tara Brach
Mindfulness is a common English word, that simply means "paying attention." The founder of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, Jon Kabat-Zinn states:
"Mindfulness is awareness, cultivated by paying attention in a sustained and particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally."
When practicing mindfulness our awareness is unconditional and open—we are willing to be with whatever arises, moment to moment, even if we wish the pain would end or that we could be doing something else.
Because we are not trying to push away or cling to our experience, mindfulness allows us to see life “as it is.”
In Asian languages, the word for mind and the word for heart are the same. We may think of mindfulness as being something to do with purely paying attention (like in the need to figure something out), yet compassion and kindness to oneself are intrinsically woven into it.
We marry the qualities of the heart and the mind and this is particularly important when we're experiencing difficult emotions.
Compassion, is our capacity to relate in a tender and sympathetic way to what we perceive. Instead of resisting our feelings of fear or grief, we embrace our pain with the kindness of a mother holding her child. Rather than judging desires for attention or chocolate or wine, we regard our grasping with gentleness and care.
This guided meditation brings the two wings of awareness together.