According to the leading expert in mindfulness, Jon Kabat-Zinn, mindfulness means “paying attention in a particular way, on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally.” Mindfulness is the practice of intentional, accepting, and nonjudgmental concentration of a person’s attention on his/her internal state of emotions, thoughts, and sensations, as they occur in the present moment.
Further, mindfulness can also be described as a state of awareness in which each thought, feeling, or sensation that arises in a person’s awareness is acknowledged and accepted as it is.
Mindfulness is a way of being. Mindful awareness is a practice; it is all the time.
The art of mindfulness involves a conscious focus of awareness. That is, when we deliberately notice the sensations and our responses to those sensations, we are practicing mindfulness. When we notice that the mind is wandering away from the present moment and we bring our attention back to the present moment, we are practicing mindfulness.
The most effective way to cultivate a mindful state of awareness is through the practice of seated meditation. (Click here to read my article, What is Seated Meditation?) The practice of sitting still, while focusing on the breath helps cultivate a mindful state of awareness. The more we cultivate a still state of consciousness in a seated posture, the more easily we can practice mindfulness throughout our everyday lives.
If seated meditation is too much for us at the current time, there are many exercises that a person can engage in that increases his/her mindful state of awareness. Some exercises of mindfulness include:
- Mindful eating
- Mindful walking
- Mindful breathing
- Body scan
- Mindful meditation
In the art of mindful awareness, we are conscious of what is going on right now. By intentionally directing our state of consciousness on the present moment, we are able to live life to the fullest.
Mindfulness is a practice that involves non-reactivity. We let go of judgment and accept that which is. When we are practicing mindfulness, we accept both things we agree with and those things that we disagree with.
Through retaining a mindful state of equanimity, we are able to move past obstacles that may have held us back in the past. Through mindfulness, we accept whatever arises in our experience. And as we accept what we are experiencing, we are able to more fully create our ideal life.
Feel free to add your perspective about what mindfulness is to you by commenting in the box below.