2010/03/30GerminationCrocusCrocus (stripe)

What is Mindfulness?

Jon Kabat- Zinn (2003) defines Mindfulness as follows: Mindfulness is the awareness that emerges through paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgementally to the unfolding of experience.

In other words: Mindfulness is the act of deliberately paying attention to internal and external experiences in a particular way. This particular way involves bringing the attention back to the present moment and being non- judgemental when doing so.

A more poetic definition is this metaphor: just like a vast, crystal clear lake reflects the sun and the moon and the stars and all that surrounds it so does the mindful mind reflect the thoughts and the feelings and the sensations as well as external experiences just as they are.

David S. Black (2011) suggests: "To further grasp the definition of mindfulness, the term can be contrasted with experiences of mindlessness that occur when attention and awareness capacities are scattered due to preoccupation with past memories or future plans and worries; this, in turn, leading to a limited awareness and attention to experiences in the present moment."

The term Mindfulness is an English translation of the ancient Pali word "Sati" which connotes awareness, attention and remembering. It implies a genuine presence of mind, an act of awareness to see what reveals itself. Although featuring in the teachings of most traditions it is an integral part of the path to ethical living in Buddhism.

Mindfulness is not about thinking, it is not cognitive activity, rather it is bringing the attention of mind and heart to each moment. Fortunately, mindfulness is not something that we have to "get" or acquire. The practice of intentional, nonjudgemental awareness of moment-to-moment experience has been practiced since ancient times in both East and West. Attention and awareness are a deep human capacity, an internal ability that, through intentional practice, becomes a clearer resource for being well in life.

 

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