Mindfulness has now been proven to help in the treatment of depression, anxiety, and Attention Deficit Disorder. But what, exactly is mindfulness?
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness, a state that can be brought about by meditation, creates physical change in the body. Universities like UCLA have studied the brains of Tibetan monks and found their frontal lobe is thicker than that of ordinary, non-meditating people. After only six weeks of practicing mindfulness with a group, there is marked improvement in brain function and mental clarity. Jon Kabat-Zinn has also studied this and documented the ways the practice of mindfulness can reduce stress.
Much anxiety and depression is governed by our thoughts. When we come to understand this, we may develop the skills that enable us to slow down, pause and then focus. It’s a powerful act to set an intention to be mindful each minute going forward. It can be challenging, however. Having a talisman to remind us of this intention is why I created the wearable icons of Jizo and Chibi. They represent the marriage of Buddhist meditation and the psychological theory of attachment therapy – a way for us to have a transitional object to help us connect with our Buddha – or Jizo – nature. And they are a lot prettier than the rubber band I wore for many years, early on in my path toward a Buddhist psychotherapy practice.
Why I chose Jizo and Chibi
Jan Chozen Bays, a pediatrician and Roshi at the Great Vow Meditation Center in Oregon, has written about Jizo’s role as a guardian of children. Sometimes we all feel small like infants longing to feel safe; to be seen, heard and understood. My Jizo holds Chibi to his chest, where he is often depicted carrying a pearl or precious stone to light the darkness. I hope you embrace Jizo and Chibi so they may comfort you and bring you light. It’s my hope that if you wear Jizo, the figure becomes a touchstone, a reminder, to become mindful.