“If we want to be happy all the time and to be free from problems, we must develop and maintain a peaceful mind.” – Geshe Kelsang Gyatso, How to Transform Your Life
In Buddhism, the term mindfulness is interchangeable with meditation.
Mindfulness is that part of the mind we need to cultivate in order to practice meditation. Mindfulness technically means to remember, to be mindful. We already have mindfulness, the problem is we have mindfulness of the wrong things. For example, if we have a tendency towards anxiety we’ve already mastered mindfulness of remembering all the things that might go wrong.
That’s why we need to train in mindfulness of the right things, to train ourselves to focus on those aspects of our mind that produce what we actually want – peace, happiness and an expansive and open heart.
We can think of meditation as focusing the mind on the internal causes of peace and happiness. The beautiful thing is we carry these internal causes with us everywhere we go. While we all already have them, we need to learn how to recognize them. Once we can recognize our internal causes of peace and happiness. we then train in remaining mindful of them.
This is essentially what the practice of meditation is all about, and how it can be used to completely eradicate all suffering, including the suffering of anxiety.
On the Northside of Williamsburg, inside one of the many new towers that have arisen, sits Kadampa Meditation Center — a cozy, peaceful space with bright walls, golden Buddhas and very chill teachers. In this busy town, coming back to ourselves for simple, quiet reflection is increasingly difficult. Even in this space of North Brooklyn that boasts apothecaries, yoga studios, and new age classes, we can struggle to find that which we are all searching for: Peace and Happiness.