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The Five Modes of Mindfulness

Tom Evans

Author | Meditation Guide | Creator of The Art of Timefulness

While there is no need to become a practicing Buddhist to benefit from mindfulness meditation, some of the tenets of Buddhist philosophy are immensely practical, and useful in business.  

So they are worth exploring.

And to remove any doubt, I should state that...I am neither a Buddhist or, for that matter, an ‘Anything-ist’.  

It is my belief that there is no need to join a cult or change your faith to benefit from mindfulness meditation.

In Buddhism, there are four ‘modes of mindfulness’.

These modes are all worth ‘bearing in mind’ for anyone who wants to be successful in business, and life.

1. Mindfulness of the body

If we are mindful of our body, we notice what it is telling us.

Symptoms include...

  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome are a sure sign we are stressed.
  • Heart disease is often seeded by not being loved or appreciated, or not loving what we do and who we are with.
  • Ankle, knee and hip pain can come from the fear of stepping forward, and back and neck pain can be seeded by carrying too much burden.

Our body is the vehicle that carries us around, and nagging, persistent, low-level illnesses are a sign we need to pull in for a pit-stop.

2. Mindfulness of feelings or sensations

Our gut and heart centres are now recognised by neurologists as ‘intelligences’ that interact continually with the mind that sits in our brain. Ignore the advice of these “intelligences” at your peril.

Unlike our brain, they do not ‘speak’ in a voice and their messages often get swamped by our loud internal dialogue.  However with practice you will be able to tune into them with ease.  

3. Mindfulness of mind or consciousness

We are not taught how to consider our thoughts.

This is a great shame as what we are thinking fundamentally creates the world around us. On one level, this is subjective; for example whether we see our glass as half full or empty.  

And on another it is substantial, because thoughts don’t so much become things, they are things.

When you practice meditation for just a few weeks, you will find that what you think begins to manifest in your world. Now this maybe not so much that you are creating your reality from your thoughts, and more to do with becoming better at noticing opportunities—or a mix of both.

4. Mindfulness of ‘the way of things’

The saying that ‘what goes around comes around’ is a maxim that holds universally true: sitting somewhat beyond religion, faith and scientific analysis.

We ‘know’ it is true because it seems to work: if we are kind to people, they are kind in return.   

For instance in business, I find if I pay all my suppliers promptly, I get paid quickly too.   If you deliver on time, or always slightly over-deliver, you will find others will respond ‘in kind’.

If someone ever falls foul of this ‘way of things’, it pays dividends to be mindful as to why they have done so. It may be a sign that they need help or guidance or that there is something we can do to improve ourselves and our communication with that person.

5. Mindfulness of your why

One of the great philosophies of Buddhism is that, perhaps unlike many religions, it is not afraid of re-inventing itself. It is currently going through what has been called its Fourth Turning.

It occurred to me in meditation that a fifth mode of mindfulness would be useful in business, and at a time when many are awakening to take responsibility for their own actions, feelings and thoughts.

We reach a new level of awareness when we become mindful of why we are here.

If just making money to support your family and lifestyle is your why, then that’s fine. You may have a why to change the planet, to leave a legacy and to leave the planet in a better place than when you arrived.


Tom Evans

Author | Meditation Guide | Creator of The Art of Timefulness

Tom is the author of 13 books, his latest being The Authority Guide to Practical Mindfulness. He is one of the top meditation guides on the free Insight Timer app and the host of the Zone Show podcast which explores how to get in and stay in the zone.

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