There have always been overlaps between Buddhism and Western psychology. However, in the last few decades, an adaptation of one of the basic Buddhist practices – mindfulness – has become part of Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT), thus of mainstream psychology.
The practice of mindfulness in psychotherapy may be described as follows:
- Develop a particular way of paying attention.
- Understand that the quality of this attention may have unsuspected impact on one’s life.
- Observe thoughts, feelings, sensations in an intentional, receptive and non-judgmental way.
- Renew mindful attention moment-to moment – returning to Now.
- Maintain an attitude of openness, curiosity, readiness to learn
- In the process, a person learns to perceive unhelpful automatic thoughts/feelings/sensations, identify what triggers them and process them in a different way.
- A person also learns how to develop compassion for self and others.
- This reduces rumination and worry which often lead to depression and anxiety.
- Mindful attention learnt in meditational practice is then applied in everyday life.
- Self-knowledge thus gained helps people to discover values and meaning they want to realize in their lives.