DIMENSIONS OF WELLBEING – By Pierre Zimmerman 6/1/21


Let’s look at the dimensions of wellbeing from the point of view of qualities of mind and heart that can be trained in as essential skills. Wellbeing is complex, has many factors that contribute to it with contemplative experiential activities, a convergence of science and subjective elements in different communities. There are four major dimensions that define wellbeing: awareness, connection, insight and purpose.

Awareness stands for being conscious, the ability to regulate our attention, and we have access to it anytime, building on meta-awareness. We cultivate being aware not just during meditation practice but during our waking hours.

Connection is in essence how we build and maintain relationships. We demonstrate an intention to be with others. We have appreciation for being part of a community, not necessarily of like persons, sharing norms, practicing gratitude and cultivating compassion.

Insight allows us to gain more awareness, discern what is wholesome or not, develop a range of related ideas, and understand inter-connectedness. We inquire how phenomena of sensations, thoughts, and emotions are understood and sustained, which brings us wisdom.

Purpose is vital for our psychological, cognitive, conative and emotional wellbeing. It is a way for us to orient ourselves and espouse our values and intentions, and best stay connected to experience as we embody them.

These four dimensions are skills that we train with and apply in life. In indigenous communities, connection and a sense of belonging come first, and there is more focus on ecosystems. In the educational realm, it might be purpose that takes priority. In mindfulness groups, awareness and insight take precedence. All four dimensions are included in any context.

The healthy emotional life of a being is characterized by contentment, joy within, flexibility, very little “stickiness,” creativity, being deeply responsive, and having a capacity for connection. There is an interest in figuring out common ground, developing listening and curiosity, while favoring dialogues and building bridges in order to be part of organic networks.


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