Compassionate Integrity Training Final CIT training manual 11-30 - Page 44

Compa ssionate Integrit y Tr a ining A S e cu l a r Ethic s A ppr oac h to C ulti vat ing Pe rs on al, S o ci al and E n vir on me n tal F lo u r i shing E thical mindfulness combines the skills of heedfulness, faculty of mindfulness itself. As opposed to other popular mindfulness and awareness to help one avoid actions definitions of mindfulness, 48 in CIT, mindfulness is defined that are harmful to oneself and others. A growing body as intentionally bringing something into working memory of evidence suggests mindfulness practices can reduce stress and maintaining one’s attention on this object so that it and anxiety, lower inflammation in the body, reduce blood becomes familiar and hard to forget. The value is that by pressure, improve immune function and response to psycho- cultivating mindfulness, we can develop the ability to 47 remember our ethical values and not forget them in social stress and create a greater overall sense of well-being. situations of stress, distraction or temptation. The more often we bring our values to mind, the more effortlessly Heedfulness they will come to mind and become second nature. Within ethical mindfulness, heedfulness is the basic For example, through heedfulness, we may become recognition of our capacity to engage in harmful actions, both intentionally and unintentionally, and the concomitant vigilance one needs in order to not do so. An ancient Indian metaphor used to teach this level of heedfulness is that of a person who was ordered to carry a bowl filled right to the cognizant of the fact that we often say things that are upsetting to, or critical of, others. Despite this heedfulness, if we are not mindful of our value to not harm others through speech, we may continue to do so. The more we bring this value to mind, the more automatic it will become. brim with hot sesame oil, while a guard holding a drawn sword walked behind him. If the person spilled even a drop of sesame oil, the guard was instructed to chop his head Awareness off. Clearly, in such a situation, we would be extremely Along with heedfulness and mindfulness, we also need careful. This metaphor explains what heedfulness is: a sense awareness. Here, awareness is present moment conscious- of care and restraint with regard to things we recognize as ness of our speech and actions. For example, if we recognize dangerous. Often, however, we lack heedfulness. We are our ability to cause harm with our words (heedfulness), unaware that things we do cause harm to ourselves and and bring to mind our desire to not cause harm through others, and therefore we show no care or concern with regard to such actions. Often it is only in hindsight that we recognize that we were foolhardy and careless. Therefore, with heedfulness and mindfulness can still cause harm to that we think critically about what actions we do that endanger ourselves and others, recognize and identify these them with a sense of caution. cause harm with our words if we are not aware of what we say when we say it. The same is true of our actions. People this first step in the process of ethical mindfulness requires actions clearly, and then resolve to avoid them and treat our words (mindfulness), we nonetheless may continue to themselves and others by not being aware of their present state and activities. Without all three components of ethical mindfulness, we will continue to have a lack of self-restraint. Since actions that cause harm to others also tend to endanger ourselves, developing this kind of Mindfulness The next step in cultivating ethical mindfulness is the restraint is the beginning of the ethical journey and a major step in enhancing our personal well-being. Ce n t e r for Compa s sion , I nteg r i t y and S e cu l ar E t hics | L ife Uni ve rsi t y | M ar ie t ta, G e or g i a - 38 -