Mindfulness as a psychological concept is the concentration of attention and awareness, based on the concept of full awareness of Buddhist meditation. In the West it has the hand of Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn. Despite finding its roots in Buddhism, mindfulness is taught devoid of any mystical, religious or oriental component or terminology. Let’s go over his story a bit.
MINDFULNESS ORIGINS. 2,500 YEARS AGO
The germ of mindfulness arose in Kapilavastu, on the current border between Nepal and India, approximately 2,500 years ago. A practice that arose from the hand of a man born and raised in a courtly environment. That man was Siddharta Gautama, son of Suddhodana, monarch of the Sakya, clan of the region where he was born. After getting married, and tired of his princely condition and greatly affected by the sufferings of his fellow men, he gave himself to a rigorous asceticism.
After several years of fruitless meditation, a full moon night in May sat under a sacred fig tree in Uruvela, on the banks of a tributary of the Ganges River. From there he would not leave until he reached true knowledge. And it came that same night. Once the temptations given to him by the god Mara, who tricked him as much as he could and more, surpassed, he obtained enlightenment. It was the moment when Siddharta Gaudama became the Buddha, or what is the same, the Enlightened One.
He left no written work, but his essence survived and was transmitted by word of mouth. His way of seeing life, of emphasizing his own experience as a valid source of knowledge, became a way of facing life based on a rich and solid foundation.
MINDFULNESS ORIGINS. BORN AS A SCIENTIFIC DISCIPLINE
The founder of mindfulness as a scientific discipline was Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn, who in the late 1970s founded the Stress Reduction Clinic at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center, one of the most important in the world. Since then, its application as a technique to improve the quality of life of healthy individuals grows exponentially.
A quarter of large US companies have already launched initiatives of mindfulness and stress reduction and in Europe every day there are more companies that are putting it into practice. Mindfulness training is becoming an integral feature of managerial development programs in business schools and an indispensable instrument for cutting-edge leadership.
MINDFULNESS ORIGINS. MINDFULNESS AND COGNITIVE THERAPY
In the 90s of the last century, Mark Williams, John Teasdale and Seagal Zindel developed a treatment model combining mindfulness and MBCT (Mindfulnes Based Cognitive Therapy). This treatment is clinically approved in the United Kingdom by the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) as a “treatment of choice” for recurrent depression and introduced into primary care centers as part of the treatment.