What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is moment to moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations and surrounding environment with an attitude of nonjudgmental acceptance for what is.
When we practice mindfulness, we tune into the present moment instead of rehashing the past or imagining the future. We can view the mind through a new lens and see how it likes to judge and ruminate, intensifying suffering and wrecking havoc on our bodies and mental health.
Although it is not a religion, this ancient practice is rooted in Buddhism and appears in all religious traditions. Compassionate awareness is a human capacity that deepens our experience and opens the door to insight.
Mindfulness is having its moment right now. It is appearing in the workplace, classrooms, hospitals, prisons and board rooms. It is growing in the West because science has elevated it to a legitimate healing practice with proven results. When you come to the edge of intellect, an ocean of awareness is available and the opportunity to experience simply being. Joy, creativity, clarity and serenity are side effects of going inward vs. outward to replenish ourselves.
Since Jon Kabat-Zinn launched the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Program (MBSR) at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in 1979, thousands of studies have documented the physical and mental health benefits of mindfulness.
Mindfulness practice is truly transformational but not on an intellectual level, it must be experienced. Courage is required to face ourselves and our fears with an open heart and mind. But when we do, we begin to truly participate in life and gain agency over our monkey mind.