mind·ful·ness | \ˈmīn(d)-fəl-nəs \
1. the practice of maintaining a nonjudgmental state of heightened or complete awareness of one’s thoughts, emotions, or experiences on a moment-to-moment basis
also: such a state of awareness
The definition is quite specific and very clear. But the term mindfulness has come to be used broadly to encompass a variety of ideas and definitions.
A profound understanding in traditional practices and teachings is that there’s a subtle, distinguishable difference between mindfulness and the experience of being mindful. The precise essence of mindfulness is a fundamental foundation of other teachings.
In more contemporary, secular circles, the essentials of these teachings can sometimes be misunderstood, ignored, altered for convenience or enmeshed with other practices.
Figuring out what it really means can be challenging.
Noticing and observing
I think it’s important that I distinguish for you how I approach mindfulness here.
On this website, I use the word mindfulness in line with one of the most popular current definitions from the Founding Executive Director of the Center for Mindfulness, Jon Kabat-Zinn:
Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgementally.
Mindfulness is noticing or observing. That’s it.
The practices I use, state I’m in, consequences that may come from my practice, benefits I experience, my perception of mindfulness is not mindfulness itself.
On this site, my intention is to provide you with connection to the experience of mindfulness as it’s used in daily life. How it feels. The benefits. The results of practice.
While I do include some practices, they are not strictly mindfulness practices, nor are they traditional teachings. My writing incorporates the ideas of mindfulness, self-care and inner silence all working together for wellness.
Is mindfulness the same as meditation?
While mindfulness is often used synonymously with meditation, they are actually not the same thing.
Mindfulness is simply noticing or observing.
Meditation is a practice that trains the brain to attain and sustain the state of being mindful.
Is mindfulness scientifically proven?
In Eastern cultures, mindfulness has been an integral traditional teaching and way of life for thousands of years.
In the West, reputable clinical neuro-scientific studies have been increasingly acknowledging the powerful connection between mind and body for decades.
- US National Library of Medicine: Effects of Mindfulness on Psychological Health Review
- Harvard Medical School: When Science Meets Mindfulness
- Toronto Centre For Mindfulness Studies: Evidence
- NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) UK: Caring For Mental Health Using Mindfulness
Secular or traditional, mindfulness is proving to be of benefit when incorporated into any approach to wellness.
Mindfulness practice in everyday life
- Mindful driving: noticing where I really am
- Slowing down, literally and figuratively
- Virtual bonfire: break from limitations
- Listen to the silence between the sounds
- Mindfulness in a downpour
- Stillness before the storm
- Watching the grasses
- Take a break from technology
- Mindful walking
- Morning mindfulness
- Silent morning movement