In Mindfulness: history, technologies, research, applications Luis Felipe Morales Knight writes: “Just What is Mindfulness?”
“The English word ‘mindfulness’ names a technique for profoundly changing our relationship to our thoughts and feelings and the perspective one gains from practicing that technique. It names a temporary state that is potentially accessible to any human being and a set of permanent traits that may grow in a person who practices mindfulness.
Mindfulness in action is the endeavor to observe what occurs, with a special focus on the contents of inner experience, without evaluating, judging, or participating. The majority of our mental and emotional lives are spent experiencing cognition and emotion as inalienable parts of ourselves: We see angry people who can’t help losing our tempers; we are depressed, or we are anxious, or we have continuous and inescapable feelings of paranoia, or grief.”
Mindfulness practice allows anyone who enters into it to discover the sheer untruth of thse ideas.”
On page 108 in his book Coming to Our Senses: healing Ourselves and The World Through Mindfulness Jon Kabat-Zinn writes in answer to the question, What is Mindfulness:
“According to the Buddhist scholar and monk Nyanaponika Thera, mindfulness is ‘the unfailing master key for knowing the mind and is thus the starting point; the perfect tool for shaping the mind, and is thus the focal point; and the lofty manifestation of the achieved freedom of the mind, and is thus the culminating point.” Not bad for something that basically boils down to paying attention.”
“Mindfulness can be thought of as moment-to-moment, non-judgmental awareness, cultivated by paying attention in a specific way, that is, in the present moment, and as non-reactively, as non-judgmentally, and as openheartedly as possible. Whe it is cultivated intentionally, it is sometimes referred to as deliberate mindfulness.”
On page 110 of Coming to Our Senses” Kabat-Zinn continues:
“The attentional stance we are calling mindfulness has been described by Nyanaponika Thera as ‘the heart of Buddhist meditation. It is central to all the Buddha’s teachings and to all the Buddhist traditions, from the many currents and streams of Zen in China, Korea, Japan, and Vietnam, to the various schools of vipassana or insight meditation in the Theravada tradition native to Burma, Cambodia, Thailand, and Sri Lanka, to those of Tibetan (Vajarayana) Buddhism in India, Tibet, Nepal, Ladakh, Bhutan, Mongolia, and Russia. And now, virtually all of these schools and their attendant traditions have established firm roots in the cultures of the West, where they are presently flourishing.
Mindfulness consists of awareness, attention, and focus in the present original moment. Mindfulness is experienced through mindfulness meditation. Mindfulness can transform your life from endless suffering to manageable pain and even beyond to a much more peaceful and calm way of living. Mindfulness is a transforming conduit for all. Whether you’ve been sexually abused as a child, have a personality disorder or other mental illness, Asperger’s Syndrome, or you are generally stressed out as most people are these days, or still harbour the kind of baggage from your past that gets in the way of your living and functionally fully in your life in the here and now.
Mindfulness is the passage way from your false self suffering to your authentic self and the fulfillment of your purpose in this life.
Mindfulness is truly something for all with a universal application. We all have thoughts and feelings and we all attach limiting meaning and unwise judgment, all-too-often, to what we think and feel. The very nature of human thought in an imperfect human condition is the experience of distorted thought which leads to illogical attached and interpreted meaning and subsequent feelings with lives of their own if we aren’t aware of them and paying attention first to our thoughts, and secondly to our feelings.
Thoughts and feelings are the harbingers of action. Lest we not wait until we are involved in pursuing unaware, unwise and unwarranted action or behaviour before we know it. Mindfulness through its encouragement to attention and focused awareness can free us from unenlightened choices that lead to unwanted actions.
When we are mindful we will experience a much calmer and quieter mind that is focused through awareness in each present moment, not ruminating, not living in the past, not projecting into the future, not endlessly processing information, just being in the now. All we really truly have is each unfolding present moment, one moment at a time.
Being mindful means that we do not judge the moment. We have nothing to protect ourselves from in the present moment. We can be open to whatever the moment holds for us. Experience the moment as it is. Whatever we feel or think is okay just as it is. Observe it. Do not attach yourself to it. Let it be just as you are in the moment.
We gain incredible awareness by stilling the mind in each moment. The insights gained can then be strengthened and developed through observing and describing techniques with a focus of attention on only that which is in this moment.
These gained insights can be the fertile ground from which we learn to realign our thoughts and feelings in ways that support a much more over-all harmonious approach to life and result in much more experienced peace and a significant reduction in life-stress.
Mindfulness is the practice of a way or state of being that enhances stress reduction and enlivens a pulsating sense of what it means to be fully you in each moment.
The best way to get in touch with this mindfulness and to experience it and strengthen your awareness of each moment is through the practice of mindfulness meditation.
Mindfulness meditation is the process of undoing the assumptions we’ve made and attached ourselves to through meaning based upon (usually) past negative experiences and outcomes in our lives. Mindfulness meditation is the pathway to releasing ourselves from all these mind-made attachments we’ve developed that have limited our potential not only to accomplish things, to be more fully alive, to be more present, to be loving and kind, to live more peacefully and in a more relaxed manner, but also, most importantly, to fully be the authentic selves that we were created to be without the artificially imposed limitations of fear, anxiety, worry, stress, despair, and all of the other negative energies that we so readily attach ourselves to when we live everywhere but in the present moment.
In mindfulness meditation the breath is the main focus. The basis of your life is your breath. Your breath, each breath is a moment lived fully. In living fully in each and every unfolding moment every aspect of experience is welcomed and accepted, validated, and when focused upon in fully attentive ways deepens our awareness from the centre of our being.
Mindfulness meditation catapults us into the role of an impartial observer of everything that transpires or occurs before our attention. Our intention then, in a focused and aware manner is to be with what is in each and every present moment. No more, no less.
Being alive fully in this focused attentive awareness is a state of being (and can become a way of being) that is radically accepting of what is. It is only through this radical acceptance of what each moment contains that we can hope to be aware enough to observe and flow with what is instead of reacting to all that the present moment isn’t.
The manifestation of our awareness of the present moment is culminated in our willingness to pay attention and be very focused on all that is mindful without thinking about or interpreting or judging anything. Mindfulness is all about the awareness of the present moment through observing it. Mindfulness requires that we do not judge interpret or evaluate anything that may come into our awareness but rather that we just observe it and be with it as it is in the present moment. Whatever comes to our attention during our mindfulness meditation is okay and we achieve a freer and more focused awareness by just letting the thought, feeling, sound, or what have you just be what it is. Just letting it float in and out of our awareness as it must.
The more that we practice this mindful awareness without attaching meaning or interpretation to anything the more we can begin to open wide the possibility and experience of much greater peaceful living. There is this beckoning and burgeoning peace within us yearning to be fully experienced. We all know far too much about turmoil, angst, and the chaotic drama of our fast-paced stressful lives. Mindfulness is the gateway through which we can detach from this crazy-making health threatening way of being in the world.
Mindfulness or being mindful is being aware of your present moment. Whatever moment you find yourself in is the moment that you are meant to be fully aware of as you experience it.
Each moment is a breath. Each unfolding moment is another breath after another breath. As each moment passes to the next moment each breath is replaced by the next breath. Each breath heralds a new moment. Like ocean waves gently rolling up against the ocean’s shore, ceaselessly, effortlessly. Just be aware of your breath. Breathe.
You can choose to be mindful. You can choose to be more fully who you are. You are simply you in this moment. You are there in the present moment with no other purpose than being fully awake and aware of that moment. Giving that moment all the detached attention it fully deserves because you are and it is what it is. Accept that.
When we are living mindfully we accept what just is because it is without attaching or ascribing limiting meaning to whatever is. We can then experience and know a peaceful way of being that not only reduces stress and eclipses negative energy but that in our mindful awakening moment by moment brings us to the positive experience of being more fully who we are. What peace there is in this mindful way of being.
The peaceful living that one can come to know fully through mindfulness and mindfulness mediation gifts us with never before clarity and understanding that frees us to be able to detach from suffering through radical acceptance.
Mindfulness is the gateway of freedom through which we can transcend suffering and put in its place a much more peaceful way of living. A way of being that is accepting of what is. A way of being that can mean the difference between endless suffering and transforming all that has been suffering into a peaceful acceptance that leaves us with, at worst, manageable pain, and at best the experience of calm, bliss, joy, happiness and a sense of well-being and of being one with your authentic self, your true purpose in life and the universe as a whole.