What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is the practice of paying attention to whatever is happening in the present moment with kindness towards ourselves and our experience and without judgement.
Mindfulness itself is an ancient practice taking different forms in different cultural traditions. Central to its purpose in all traditions and modes of practice is the creation of the capacity to observe the activity of the mind in such a way as to gain more conscious choice over our behaviours and activities.
It is a way of “being” so that we are as fully awake as possible in every moment regardless of what we are doing. Being with ourselves is the opposite of more habitual states of mind in which we are often preoccupied with memories, fantasies, worries or planning.
It is very common for us to have the experience of doing something but having no conscious connection in the moment of what we are actually doing. This is the experience of having left the house and spending hours afterwards wondering and worrying about whether or not we have locked the door. Or the experience of travelling somewhere focused so much on the destination that we do not notice the beauty or otherwise of the places we are in as we travel through them.
Being fully awake means that we are aware in each moment of the habitual thoughts and feelings that automatically determine our communications and behaviours. It is the first step to being able to choose our communications and behaviours rather than automatically and repeatedly following those that may cause us stress and pain.