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Why did you come to mindfulness training?

30 September 2022 | , Timothea Goddard

Intention is really important in mindfulness practice. 

Jon Kabat-Zinn is known for changing his mind about how this works. He used to think that simply by doing the practice, shifts and changes would happen. But then he realised that it really matters why you are doing the practice. This shapes our direction and connects us to what really matters. This connection to values can be an engine for our lives.

Three different reasons the people come to mindfulness courses

Shauna Shapiro, a mindfulness researcher took this a step further. She posited that people come to mindfulness courses for three reasons:

  • Self-regulation (to be less stressed, reduce pain, to become less anxious /depressed)

  • Self-exploration (to get to know oneself better psychologically – emotionally, physically and mentally)

  • Self-liberation (to go more deeply into how to be free at a more fundamental level.)

Outcomes correlate to intention

She found that people’s outcomes correlated with their intention. People who wanted stress reduction and more regulation, got that; those more interested in an open ended exploration of their inner world got that; and those interested in the bigger picture, moved more towards that kind of inner freedom and compassionate service. It seems that what you go for, is what you get.  This is encouraging.


And we can be very easily discouraged.  We are patterned creatures and we are hardwired to avoid the unpleasant and to go for the immediate gratification, which is not the same as satisfaction. And our circumstances are full of challenges that can throw up old habits and patterns. Growth it seems, depends on being willing to learn how to re-perceive these unpleasant moments, to allow them, explore them and not identify with them. 

Begin again

How about this: instead of collapsing or railing against reality - we simply begin again?

Begin again. This moment, this day, this precious life. There is really no alternative.

Come to our free practice group this Sunday.  You are in good company. Begin again.