Expanding the Understanding of Mindfulness: Seeing the Tree and the Forest

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The increasing popularity in the use of mindfulness in therapy and within the wider community raises concerns with mindfulness being employed as just a technique and understood intellectually, rather than experienced as a way of being. The article explores the ontological and ontic dimensions of the Buddha's teachings in relation to the 4 Noble Truths and the concepts of impermanence, dependent origination (interdependence), nonattachment, acceptance and letting be, and letting go. Expanding the understanding of mindfulness through an appreciation of these teachings and integrated holistically with the individual's own experiences, mindfulness becomes a life skill, rather than just a useful therapeutic adjunct. Clinical vignettes demonstrate how clients have engaged with these ideas and practices and learned to cultivate a more meditative attitude toward living.

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