WHAT IS MINDFULNESS?
Often described as moment-to-moment, non-judgmental awareness, mindfulness offers us a lens through which to experience our lives in a more present, alert, and gentle way. One might say it is a way of life that cultivates our capacity for sharpening the mind and opening the heart.
In his book Wherever You Go There You Are, Jon Kabat-Zinn wrote: “This kind of attention nurtures greater awareness, clarity, and acceptance of present-moment reality. It wakes us up to the fact that our lives unfold only in moments. If we are not fully present for many of those moments, we may not only miss what is most valuable in our lives but also fail to realize the richness and the depth of our possibilities for growth and transformation.”
The busy pace of our lives holds us captive from ourselves and others in our lives. Even the beauty of a sunset or our child’s laughter can be lost on us. When was the last time you were able to give a thoughtful, honest answer to the question “How are you doing?” Running from one place to the next, working down the “to do” list, we keep up the pace until we feeling exhausted, overwhelmed, out of balance, and out of touch.
Mindfulness practice offers us a way to relate directly to what we are feeling in our bodies, hearts, and minds with gentleness, curiosity, and compassionate awareness. All that we encounter in our lives – the stress, the pain, the pressures of daily life and even the joy – can be experienced through this lens of mindfulness. As a result, we may feel many positive benefits and a general sense of wellbeing and balance.
See our RESOURCES page for reading materials, audio and other mindfulness information.