The 7 pillars of mindfulness – Report of the online event of 10 June 2020
In view of the release of the new book The 7 pillars of mindfulness, the Vallardi publishing house organized a mindful eating session via Zoom.
‘Mindfulness: accepting yourself as you are’. So the author Maria Beatrice Toro, psychologist and psychotherapist, began her speech, telling the benefits that she has experienced by regularly following this practice.
But what is mindfulness?
The founder of this method is Jon Kabat-Zinn, an American biologist of Indian origin. Drawing inspiration from the texts of ancient Buddhism and the Indian yogic tradition, Kabat-Zinn offers an easy way to meditate, through short exercises and moments of self-awareness. These exercises, which last from a few minutes to sessions of about an hour, are aimed at directing attention directly to what we are experiencing, rather than wandering between thoughts and expectations.
‘This way of proceeding – explains the author of the book – produces mental presence’, an attitude of awareness that emerges when you pay attention, in a non-judgmental way, to the present moment.
From the early 2000s to today, mindfulness has been validated as a scientific protocol, and a large number of publications, studies and researches have documented its effects even in various pathological situations. ‘It is particularly effective in the treatment of depression, eating disorders and pathological addictions,’ replies Dr. Toro to my question on which patients benefit particularly from it, ‘but in recent years an interesting field of application has been developing, I am referring to the treatment of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in childhood. ‘
So let’s move on to the experiential moment. Since most of the mindfulness protocols begin with the repetition of a daily gesture, in which the five senses are used, the author proposed to the participants of the zoom event ‘the raisin practice’ (present inside text, with audio files of the standard version downloadable from the site).
For practice, two small portions of food are served to our liking (biscuits, chocolates or strawberries) and a peaceful environment.
The author invited us to observe the first portion of food, focusing on its visual qualities, exploring each part of it as if we were seeing it for the first time. Then, passing it between our fingers, we were asked to bring it closer to the nose and inhale its smell, and then bring it next to an ear, squeeze it and listen to what kind of sound it produced. Then bringing it to the mouth and resting it on the lips we focused our attention on how our body reacted, whether or not the salivary glands were activated. An exercise in awareness, therefore, on the tactile, visual, olfactory and auditory sensations related to the experience of food, and then finally move on to taste, chewing slowly and fully grasping the taste before swallowing.
‘Now repeat the experience with the other piece of food’ continues the author ‘as it is different! Conclude by congratulating yourself for dedicating this time to wellness! ‘.