Turning inward is a challenge for many who practice meditation, particularly forms of meditation that work with the mindfulness of one’s own breath, thoughts, or movements.
In daily life, we spend most of our time focused on external situations that seem to demand our reactions. It can be challenging to direct our attention away from these external stimuli, and still more challenging to disentangle from the inner dialogues that the stimuli trigger. In an MBS class, participants have a chance to practice this “turning inward”.
Current MBS student Bar Altshuler describes MBS as a form of training in this ability to attend inwards, to one’s own experience in the current moment:
“In Buddhism, also, we speak about knowing yourself, investigating yourself before going outward. There’s this inner process. And in an MBS group class, we often close our eyes and don’t look at what other people do. Nobody is correcting. The whole philosophy is to look at yourself.”
Whereas many forms of activity are based on measuring one’s progress by outward comparisons, mindfulness disciplines require continuous turning inwards. In contrast to most everyday activities, one’s own experience becomes the focus of attention.
Many who join the MBS training are initially surprised that even post-graduate training courses require practitioners to bring their attention to their own movements, again and again. In order to truly observe how someone else does a movement, first it’s necessary to explore how you do the movement, yourself. To learn through MBS and to teach MBS is to explore in this way at ever deeper levels and with ever finer levels of observation.