What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is the practice of being fully present to whatever you are experiencing in the here and now. It involves a moment-to-moment awareness of your thoughts, emotions, sensations, and environment.
A central component of mindfulness is acceptance. You pay full attention to your current experience non-judgmentally—without criticism, without labeling anything as “good” or “bad,” and without wishing that things were any different than they are right now.
Mindfulness takes practice. Although it is a simple technique, it’s not always easy to perform—at least not at first.
If you tried for the next three minutes to pay attention only to your breath, focusing on the sensations of each inhalation and exhalation, you might be surprised. You might find yourself worrying about an upcoming event, brooding over a past event, planning tomorrow’s itinerary, or revisiting yesterday’s conversation with a family member. In short, you’d find yourself anywhere but in the here and now.
That means mindfulness takes training, followed up by daily practice. The time commitment in learning mindfulness, however, is not “lost” time out of your day. On the contrary, the time you spend in mindfulness practice is more than compensated for by the resultant streamlining of your efficiency and productivity. Mindfulness clears the mind, settles the emotions, and focuses attention dramatically.
Sample Mindfulness Exercises
To get a feel for mindfulness practice, check out the guided meditations on the Audio Recordings page. These meditations gently guide you through exercises in which you practice focusing your attention on experiences such as your breath or your bodily sensations. The meditations are of the type that lay a foundation for a robust and fruitful mindfulness practice.