Sustained mindfulness practice requires that we maintain willingness for self-honesty and self-reflection that challenges our defense mechanisms. It confronts our denial and shines a light on our regrets. It puts us right in the center of our vulnerability, and we don’t often like that. This is why, when mindfulness practices start to actually work, people often run for the door—awakening to the deepest patterns and habits of our suffering can be so uncomfortable that we may prefer to go back to sleep.
For mindfulness to function properly, a matrix of skills and abilities is required. It requires a whole range of applications that balance cognitive skills with ethical qualities. It provides us the ability to view our lives from a new and much wider perspective. It allows us to apply critical thinking and discernment, logic, ethics, and an openness to question old ideas and core beliefs. It allows for personal change and transformation. It supports confidence and trust that we can overcome the challenges that we face.
Ethical mindfulness offers a complete set of tools to end suffering. As our understanding of these skills improves, our willingness to live ethically will grow. We will find that we’re able to move through our lives with much more ease and presence. We will learn to live well.