We can all see, feel and think. Most of us do all of them. This is because we are aware, we have a mind'. Mind is naturally aware, and Mindfulness is when we are conscious of this awareness. Cultivating mindfulness is a process of coming to know our own mind.
Generally, we spend our lives distracted from our true selves, continuously jostled by speedy thinking and contradictory feelings. These leave us scattered and fatigued. Through mindfulness, remaining in the awareness aspect of the mind rather than chasing after its thoughts and feelings, these thoughts and feelings cease to boss us around and cease to scare us.
Ultimately, mindfulness is about coming home to who we really are.
We cultivate mindfulness in formal sessions by resting our attention on four different aspects of ourselves, starting with the most obvious, our body. In this first mindfulness, we simply experience the presence of our body. One of the most effective practices of mindfulness of the body is placing our attention on the tactile sensations associated with breathing.
Through this practice, it's as if our mind and our body make friends with each other.
Through mindfulness practice, the mind finds rest in itself. It becomes relaxed in a natural way, less perturbed by its thoughts and less gullible and reactive to circumstances.
Mindfulness can be continued informally by reconnecting with our mind's stability, spaciousness and pliability in everyday situations, making us more calm, open and effective.
Legendary founder of the modern mindfulness movement Jon Kabat-Zinn talks briefly about the benefits in terms of recent scientific research. One of David Rycroft's paintings, Spacious Mindfulness, can be seen in the background.
Mindfulness is face to face, engaged and present
without losing, floating or straying.
-classic definition of mindfulness
cited by Alan Wallace in