What is Mindfulness
People are drawn to a meditation or mindfulness practice for many different reasons. Some seek deeper spiritual insight. Others want help coping with anxiety, depression, or pain. Still others are looking for a way to function better in their daily lives, with more focus, compassion, and less distraction.
As a practitioner, I believe that mindfulness is both magical and transformational. I know from experience that it reveals our innate superpowers. The irony is that we need to be taught how to access these best qualities in ourselves, to focus our attention inward, so that we can quiet the mind and cultivate more balance amidst intense emotions.
Through increased awareness, a mindfulness practice reduces stress about things that are out of our control. We can cultivate an awakening of consciousness that is nurturing and empowering. We can cultivate resilience, not only to survive but also to triumph over uncertainty and difficult times. Best of all, mindfulness is available to all of us, anytime, anywhere. It is a resource, our gift to ourselves, and it is something we can always count on. It is, simply, our breath — the very essence of life, itself.
Mindfulness means maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment, through a gentle, curious lens. Mindfulness also involves that we pay attention to our thoughts and feelings without judging them—without believing, for instance, that there’s a “right” or “wrong” way to think or feel in a given moment. When we practice mindfulness, our thoughts tune into what we are sensing in the present moment rather than rehashing the past or imagining the future.
Meditation begins and ends in the body. It involves taking the time to pay attention to where we are and what’s going on, and that starts with being aware of our body. That very act can be calming; since our body has internal rhythms that help it relax when we slow down, and just breathe.
What Mindfulness can do for You
Mindfulness is evidence based. Mindfulness is not the latest buzzword or fad. Both science and experience demonstrate its positive benefits for our health, happiness, work, and relationships.
Mindfulness sparks innovation. As we deal with our world’s increasing complexity and uncertainty, mindfulness can lead us to effective, resilient, low-cost responses to seemingly intransigent problems.
Mindfulness brings awareness and caring into everything we do — and it reduces unnecessary stress.
Mindfulness improves the quality of our lives in as little as 10 minutes of practice for 10 consecutive days.
Mindfulness practice cultivates universal human qualities like kindness and compassion, and it does not require anyone to change their beliefs. We can cultivate these innate qualities with simple practices that are scientifically demonstrated to benefit ourselves, our loved ones, our friends and neighbors, the people we work with, and the institutions and organizations we take part in.
Mindfulness tools can be accessed anytime, anywhere, in any situation.
Mindfulness is not a special added thing we do. We already have the capacity to be present, and it doesn’t require us to change who we are. Solutions that ask us to change who we are or become something we’re not have failed us over and over again.
Mindfulness recognizes and cultivates the best of who we are as human beings.