Psychological Foraging

As some of you may know, we held a Summer Conference at the end of June in which B. Alan Wallace was a key note speaker, and luckily for me, part of my job is to edit the video footage of his talks. Wallace is a scholar of comparative religion and an expert on Tibetan Buddhism, and as I have based all of my research this past year on the study of the varying religious origins of the theoretical concept of mindfulness, this task was a pleasure. While I was continually pressing stop, rewind, and edit, I was struck by many things he said; however, there is one thing that Wallace spoke of in particular that has left me feeling both inspired and renewed in my practice.

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Wallace addresses the fact that in many instances, secular mindfulness is simply considered an intervention or a ‘fix’ – a reaction, rather than an action. However, mindfulness and/or sustaining a meditation practice has the potential to fill our cup, build our reserve and send us off into the world with something to give, rather than being in a constant state of need. He says, “your own mind stream becomes a well-spring of well-being. It’s what you bring to each situation. It’s what you bring to your human inter-relationships. It’s what you bring to your grandchildren, your spouse, your workplace. It’s what you are bringing with you to give- not what you are getting from. THIS is authentic well-being”. Relying on our own well-spring of well-being is what he calls Psychological Foraging, or harvesting our own inner resources.

We all have this inner potential, this inner strength of mindful connection that we can link in to through meditation and developing a practice of our own. It’s only a matter of accessing, acknowledging and strengthening our connection to this resource. Once we do, our practice might just become an action, rather than a reaction. Moreover, armed with compassionate & mindful well-being, we can extend the benefits of our personal practice out into the world and rest in reassurance that we are whole and valuable. We have something to give… This is something that I would like to work towards, something to aspire to: my very own authentic well-being…I like the sound of that!

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