Mindfulness and philosophy may seem like polar opposites to many, but in truth, they are two sides of the same coin. Mindfulness is the act of becoming intensely aware of the world around you – specifically within the moment.
Meanwhile, philosophy is the understanding and appreciation of the world, both as a whole and in individual paths. Together, they encourage people to understand who they are – in this moment and in general.
Mindfulness has been around for hundreds of years, starting with Buddha and his philosophies. It holds the belief that one’s thoughts can (and arguably, will) change their reality. To put it in his words: “Your states (of existence) originate in your mind.”
Buddha was not the only philosopher concerned with our mental state and its impact on the world. Confucius also had strong opinions regarding happiness and constructive thinking. They were not the last philosophers with this way of thinking.
These days, mindfulness and philosophy have both found a place within society and science. One can discover techniques in mindfulness practice as typical as yoga – and as modern as science-led medicine.
Every year new studies come out, trying to understand mindfulness and the impact it has. These studies typically focus on meditation, though sometimes they take more comprehensive philosophical approaches as well. It just goes to show how much is encompassed within the term itself.
There is no one way to practice mindfulness. Much like philosophy, there are dozens of branches and modes of thought on the matter. One person may achieve mindfulness through meditation, while the other applies yoga. There is no right or wrong way.
The ultimate goal, as mentioned above, is to find a certain level of peace. More than that, it is intended to allow one to be entirely within a singular moment – no longer worrying about the future or lingering on the past.
However, getting to this state will be more challenging for some than others, as it depends on one’s mental state. A person with higher anxiety will likely have more trouble setting everything aside than one naturally calm and grounded. That doesn’t make either path wrong – just different.
This is part of why philosophy works so well with mindfulness, as both strive to achieve something more. They encourage multiple avenues to reach the same ultimate goal and appreciate any attempts in the matter.