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Will mindfulness work for you?

8 August, 2022


With the launch of Mindfulness Month by the Mental Health Foundation many people will be introduced to the mindfulness philosophy. However, the difficulty with trying out mindfulness is that we’re being dominated by the cynicism of our human ego – that ever-critical voice in the back of our heads – who knows very well that awareness is his greatest enemy, and therefore will do everything in his power to keep us mindless, joyless and powerless.


And so I’m not surprised when another potential client asks me the question I’ve heard so many times before: “Will mindfulness work for me?” And then, by way of explanation, follows a list of unfortunate circumstances, ranging from a painful divorce to a deadly disease. Each of these people are convinced that their specific problem is extremely unique, and requires a very special (and unique) solution. So how can mindfulness work for their extraordinary issue?


Pain relief
It’s exactly this belief that keeps us from solving our problems and frustrations. Ego wants to keep us troubled, jealous, scared and angry. Only then he is in control. When our suffering becomes really painful, we start to look for a way out. Interestingly enough we don’t look for a real solution that would actually end the suffering. That’s not what ego wants, since without suffering he wouldn’t have any power anymore. So ego instructs us to turn to pain relief and treating the symptoms rather than finding a real solution. And so we shop for treatments and therapies. We try an approach, but after a while we get bored and believe it doesn’t really work. Then we move on to another new trend within the colourful kaleidoscope of psychology treatments and give that a go… only to be disappointed yet again.


I know what I’m talking about because this is exactly what I did for many years, moving from one treatment to the next without any results. I didn’t want to really solve my stress and anxieties. I just wanted professionals to listen to my complaints and then do… nothing. And yes, I was quite comfortable with that manageable level of suffering, until I became burned out, and in my search for a solution I read a book about the workings of ego. Oh wow! Finally I understood that it was that inner voice (not the ‘unfortunate’ circumstances in the outer world) that encouraged me to keep feeling sorry for myself without really taking action. I signed up for a mindfulness training and learned that all human troubles grow from ego’s demands, and that we can train ourselves to live in peace with our ego without being dominated by it.


Mindfulness isn’t a silver bullet that will solve your stress, frustrations or emotional pain all by itself. Mindfulness is nothing but a great tool. Just like a good hammer, you

need to take it in your hand and really use it if you’d like to create a beautiful piece of furniture. Mindfulness works for everyone and every problem, because it helps you to uproot the cause instead of treating the symptoms. Our ego is the real troublemaker. With any simple mindfulness exercise you can wrestle free from ego’s grip and find inner peace, joy and contentment.


n Marisa Garau is a mindfulness expert who has lived in Mangawhai since 2007. Find more practical tips on how to de-stress your life at her website or flick her an email if you’d like to have a personal chat: marisa@growingmindfulness.com

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